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Shaded Bocce Courts Coming to Middle Village Park

By  Nigel Chiwaya and Jill Colvin | July 19, 2012 3:49pm 

MIDDLE VILLAGE — Bocce ball players in Middle Village will have more room to play soon, because the city Parks Department is planning on adding a new court to Juniper Valley Park.

The new court, revealed in a city request for proposals released Wednesday, is part of several bocce-related renovations for Juniper Valley park.

The renovations will cost $850,000 and will include the reconstruction of two existing courts in the park, along with shade structures, benches, game tables, lawns and trees.

The new court is a welcome addition to players in Middle Village, where bocce is hugely popular. Players say the current courts have several problems; including a slanted surface that prevents the court from draining rain water properly and the midday sun.

But the bigger problem, players say, is that the courts are too crowded. "It's usually packed," said bocce player Andrea Patinella, 76. "There's usually 50 people around. Sometimes you wait around for hours to play."

"We play all the time," said another player, Luigi Pinatelli, 57, of Maspeth. "We even play during the winter."

Construction is slated to begin in fall 2012.

"I hope they finish soon," said Patinella, who lives in Middle Village. "I don't have a lot of time left."