Returning to Maria Hernandez Park yet again, Puppetmobile––a Swedish Marionette puppet show partnering with Bushwick’s P.S. 123 and Kid Canvas Preschool––will be showcasing their child-friendly production on Tuesday, June 25, at 11:00 AM for free.
For decades, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, located in Central Park, has rose to fame for their contemporary renditions of classic children’s stories. But their history goes further than that: the theatre was imported to the U.S. in 1876, and brought to Central Park for the first time in 1877. The performance at Maria Hernandez Park will be completely free to all, whether you’re a child, or just an adult looking for a unique experience.
The series is a part of a larger summer City Parks program, that’s touring across all five boroughs, giving focus to underrepresented and low-income communities. As issues surrounding accessibility to open space in Brooklyn have come to light––73 percent of low-income neighborhoods fail to meet the city’s standard of 2.5 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents––local free summer park events have become increasingly important to local families.
Senator Julia Salazar’s comment on the importance of parks at a new playground announcement a few weeks ago, exposed the root of the issue: “Low-income communities of color, such as Bushwick, have historically been denied access to green space compared to other New York City communities. This reality is accompanied by many other ways in which people of color are disenfranchised in our society.”
Ingrid Ramos, member of the Friends of Maria Hernandez Park and a local Bushwick mother, has been largely involved with the organization efforts of bringing Puppetmobile to Bushwick: “Our goal is to host quality events outside, especially for young children. Bushwick is under-represented in park space compared to other neighborhoods in NYC and recent studies have shown young children benefit from more time outdoors, including building muscles and balance, negotiating social situations, and building pre-academic skills.”
Ramos further expanded, saying, “We have this big beautiful park, any one single person can apply to have an event there. There should be multiple applications every week to have events at the park. I’m just one single person, who’s trying to spotlight this beautiful resource. I think it’s important to let people know that any single resident can bring an event to the park on their own.”
The application process to hold events may seem daunting at first thought, but Partnership for Parks helps applicants submit paperwork for the correct permits, and the 83rd Precinct can waive the permit fees for events that qualify. In addition, there are community groups, like Friends of Maria Hernandez Park, that are free to join, which are always working to help bring more inclusive cultural events to local parks.
“In Bushwick we don’t have a Prospect Park or a Central Park, and it’s hard to get there, we have to take busses and trains,” says Ramos. “Whatever we can do to promote kids to be outside in our own neighborhood is good for the community, and healthy for our children.”
All images courtesy of @CPFNYC.
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