The Juniper Park Civic Association recently met with Brian Thomson, our new Parks & Recreation Manager (NYC Department of Parks & Recreation) for Queens, I had the chance to ask him some questions.
Growing up in Sunnyside, Brian claims he always had an active interest in New York's green spaces and parks. Brian gladly joined the Parks Department in 1972 as a seasonal summer worker, and after graduating from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, became the Recreational Director of Tornsey Park on his home-turf of Sunnyside. He has worn many hats in the Parks Department including the Supervising Manager in the Recreational Division, Chief of Recreation in Manhattan and the Director of Beaches and Pools, citywide. After a leave of absence from the Parks Department (for a four year stint in Mayor Rudolph Guiliani's Community Assistance Unit) he fortunately returned to us as our new Parks and Recreation Manager for Community Boards 1, 2 and 5. This means he is responsible for 187 different parks and Greenstreets.
While Brian resides in Queens Village with his family, he maintains that our Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village is a special place because it has so much beautiful open space and many wonderful resources. No other park has as many amenities as this one... the track, the tennis courts, the boccie courts....it is a lovely park.
When asked if he foresees any capital improvements to the park (while giving a nod to the upper playground improvements and ballfield renovation), being politically correct, he states that this is best left to the community to decide. When pressed about further additions to the children's play equipment at the upper playground he maintains that to add to it would be a large capital project that will take time.
The JPCA is impressed with how Brian is able to get the job done. We feel that he is both professional and knowledgeable and a great addition to the Parks Department. We look forward to working with him and sharing the hope of a bright future for Juniper Valley Park. With Brian working for Parks we should all sleep a little better at night.