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Domino Tables Included in Alphabet City Park Renovation

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

EAST VILLAGE — An Alphabet City park will receive a major facelift that includes an expanded playground, improved lighting and new domino tables in a plan unveiled by the city.

Dry Dock Park — the 1.5-acre space on East 10th Street and Avenue D — has fallen into disrepair in recent years with worn play equipment, cracked surfaces and broken basketball hoops.

But with the allocation of $1.2 million by local City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez the long-neglected public space will be revitalized with new drinking fountains, a spray shower, resurfaced basketball courts and new fences, Parks Department officials said Thursday.

The impetus for renovating the park came after neighbors complained more than a year ago about the noise produced by late-night basketball games, leading Community Board 3 to make the project a budget priority.

The neighborhood advocacy group Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) has since been spearheading the effort, working to incorporate local residents' desires for the park into the preliminary redesign.

One of those requests — like domino tables — was met with cheers from GOLES members Thursday at a meeting of Community Board 3's parks committee.

In addition to the tables, the space will include new plantings surrounding the playground, bench seating and better lighting to eliminate "dark areas" throughout the park after dusk.

"Us Lower East Side kids, East Village kids, we didn't really care — we just wanted a place to play," said GOLES member and Jacob Riis Houses resident Corey Cofield. "Play has really decreased."

For instance, one of the park's two full basketball courts has been without rims on its backboards — something the Parks Department pledged to repair within a month.

Department officials also addressed the issue of whether to lock the courts at a night, an admittedly "controversial" issue given that a majority of nearby residents surveyed by GOLES on the subject opposed closing the courts.

Regardless, a new 12-foot chain-link fence will be installed around the courts, as well as either 4- or 7-foot fences separating the courts from the play area.

The Parks Department hopes to return to the community with an update in the next four to six months, with construction starting in the spring of 2012, a spokesman said.