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Playground for Seniors Proposed for Upper East Side's John Jay Park

By DNAinfo Staff on July 20, 2010 4:11pm

By Gabriela Resto-Montero

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

UPPER EAST SIDE — John Jay Park features an age-appropriate play area for toddlers and a pool and water fountains for older kids — but until recently there were no amenities tailored to the needs and interests of the neighborhood's seniors.

That may change under a new plan to transform the southeast corner of the park at East 76th Street between York Avenue and the FDR Drive into a senior recreation area. Proponents say they want to install low-impact fitness equipment and an exercise area specifically designed for mature Manhattanites.

Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, who chairs the council's aging committee, has secured $250,000 for the Parks Department to construct the area, which would also include chess tables, OurTown reported.

The plan will be ironed out over the next couple of months, said John Moore, Lappin's spokesman.

With handball and basketball courts as well as the playgrounds, John Jay Park is a big draw for residents of the East 70s.

Although his family now lives in Midtown, Heinz Henn, 54, continues to visit the park as much as three times a week.

"I think the idea is great, I just wonder how they would protect it," Heinz said of the proposed exercise equipment.

The quiet corner of the park is currently popular with dog walkers for its wide promenade and trees.

Thais Gardel, 24, who walks several dogs at the park on a regular basis, said the special section was a good idea.

"I think this park has really good space and we can all share," Gardel said.

Henn, for one, said he looks forward to the new section.

"In 20 years, I'll be using it," he said.