06 July 2013


When I first visited Elmhurst Park a few weeks ago, I also had a run to JHS 73.  On the way back to the car at Elmhurst Park, I struck a conversation with an old lady who happened to know the area well. She correctly pointed out to me that Elmhurst Park is a decent place for the people in the area but then Juniper Valley Park isn't that far away.  When I used to live in Woodhaven while going to school at Cooper Union, my father used to drive me, as his first, free fare, in his taxi as he headed into Manhattan to work.  He used to pass by Juniper Valley all the time, so I knew the park, just didn't have the chance to visit it.  Some years ago, I took my son there, while the women shopped at Queens Center.  He was young so we only visited some playground and then watched some match of petanque.  I cannot really say I explored the park, until today.

As I got to Juniper Valley Park, I misread the parking signs that read "NO STANDING 9 PM TO 6 AM" as "NO STANDING 9 AM TO 6 PM".  WTF!?  9 AM to 6 PM, that's pretty much the whole day!  Yet many cars were parked near such signs.  Only after I wasted some time and gasoline making loops of the two sections of the park and found a parking space elsewhere, away from those "severely restricted" areas, did I realized it's 9 PM to 6 AM.  Maybe the park has problems with people hanging out after dark doing illegal stuff, so the signs are there to give local police a leg up on any such activities.

Being on foot is the best way to explore an area.  I first walked around the western end of the park, near the track and futbol field.  I found the usable restroom, not as nice as Forest Park's but good enough.  I then cut across the park to get back to my car and started a run all the way around the park's perimeter.  I used to think that 80th Street neatly divides the park into two equal parks, but today I learned otherwise.  The eastern part of the park is a lot smaller and is mostly for strolling.  The western section has two restrooms, one near the playground and the other near the ball fields, make perfect sense.  Also in the western side is the petanque court, some other ball field, tennis courts, basketball courts, the whole nine yards.  The perimeter was about 2.5 km.  Second time around I went on the inside path wherever possible, to avoid the sun, although the sidewalks were not that sunny, really.  There are many great trees in the park and while you don't have the tree canopy of Forest Parks, Juniper was well-shaded.  Maybe I've become a jaded photographer, but I only took a few photos of Juniper.
Juniper Valley Park, corner near 80th Street and Boulevard South.
After lunch with my son, instead of the usual stroll in the great shade of Forest Park, we explored the area near DeVoy Playground, which is on the northern edge of Forest Park.  When we originally approached the playground I saw two horse-riders on the road.  When I visited the playground on foot later, I discovered that the bridle path ended at the playground.  That explained those riders on the road.  Maybe they were heading back to the stable.  My son pointed out to me the poem written in stone.  A nice touch.  Good thing there was no autocorrect back then.  Or perhaps it's good to have autocorrect, as the sign about DeVoy Playground incorrectly used "bridal" in place of "bridle".

DeVoy Playground in Forest Park.
A poem written in stone.  Thank goodness for the lack of autocorrect...
Nice bio of Mr. DeVoy and some parks history, too bad they used "bridal" in place of "bridle".

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