JACKSON HEIGHTS—For the last couple of months, 44-year old dad and television producer Mike Novak has turned into a scheduling whiz: juggling his own work with his 8-year-old son’s karate lessons and wife’s dance rehearsals to squeeze in time for band practice.
“Hopefully, this week my son will see why I have been disappearing so much,” chuckled Novak, who is also a drummer.
Novak and his band, the “Sonic Power Pops,” comprised of Jackson Heights dads (hence the “Pops” in the band’s name) will make their big debut this Saturday at a launch party for the 78th Street playstreet.
For the fifth year running, the block adjacent to Travers Park on 78th Street, between 34th Avenue and Northern Boulevard, will be closed to traffic to make space for picnics, outdoor concerts and for kids to run around.
The Jackson Heights Green Alliance, which is organizing the event, hopes the extra space will not just ease congestion in the nearby playground and basketball court in the summer but will also give local residents a chance to mingle and get to know each other on the block, which will closed to traffic until Aug. 31.
But community officials are hoping that the open space will become permanent, with 78th street being selected by the City’s Department of Transportation to be a car-free public plaza.
“We are hoping the playstreet will segway into a permanent plaza,” said JHGA President Dudley Stewart.
It is unclear, however, when the plaza might come into being as the DOT has yet to make its final design proposals to the community board.