West 46th Street Block Association, Inc.

Remembering Alexandra Palmer



Alexandra Palmer was President of the West 46th Street Block Association in 1977 when the 45th/46th Street playground was re-dedicated as May Mathews Playground. Five years before, in 1972, the Playground received $150,000 and a contract was approved for renovation by the New York City Parks Department. Alex Palmer was a member of the new block association at the time. She worked with her neighbors and the Parks Department to create an exceptionally child-friendly playground.

Alex Palmer had so much to give to the park: the sprinkler and the train were among her favorites. Religiously for years she cleaned the train, using an antiseptic and thoroughly rinsing it. When she was watering the garden, she made sure to turn the hose on the train, the benches and tables, and to let children drink from the clear cold water. Many summer days she turned on the sprinkler, and in the late evenings she turned it off again.

She planted-impatiens and other flowering plants in the garden each spring, and bulbs in the fall, reported wounded trees, monitored the condition of equipment, scraped and painted the fence and walls, and networked with local graffiti artists to create murals. She helped organize picnics, movies, and arts & crafts activities, and worked to get the mobile units, and summer programs for the playground.

For almost a decade she closed the playground at night, talking with the families there to determine the best time. Although often accompanied by a neighbor or three, she too often closed the park by herself. People in every walk of life in the playground listened to her gently telling them she had to close the park.

For more than fifteen years she coordinated the annual Midtown Handball Championship in May Mathews. When Alex started this event, the art of handball was dying out; younger children were not learning the sport. Now the event has come down through generations and more players show up each year. This exemplified her efforts to have organized recreation in the playground. As far back as 1982 she successfully wrote to Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis to ask for a part-time Parks worker. Due to her efforts, May Mathews often had Parks workers specializing in recreational activities for children.

Posted by darricksampson on 02/02/2007
Sponsored Links
Advertise Here!

Promote Your Business or Product for $10/mo


For just $10/mo you can promote your business or product directly to nearby residents. Buy 12 months and save 50%!


Zip Code Profiler

10036 Zip Code Details

Neighborhoods, Home Values, Schools, City & State Data, Sex Offender Lists, more.