FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND STATEN ISLAND BOROUGH PRESIDENT MOLINARO CELEBRATE OPENING OF FREEDOM CIRCLE
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today joined Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe on Flag Day to cut the ribbon at Freedom Circle at Midland Beach in Staten Island. The $700,000 project was funded by the Borough President and was designed and built by the Parks Department. It includes a restored overlook on the boardwalk of Midland Beach with seven American flags from different eras in U.S. history, new landscaping and benches with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
"It is an honor to dedicate the Freedom Circle on a day that celebrates defining moments in the founding of our nation," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Facing the sea and set underneath flags representing different eras in our history, Freedom Circle is a beautiful place to reflect on the bravery and sacrifice of those who have fought so hard for our freedom. I want to thank Borough President Molinaro for his dedication and commitment to this project."
"Freedom Circle is a celebration of America in red, white and blue," said Borough President Molinaro. "I wanted to create a special tribute to all the brave men and women who have sacrificed for 230 years to protect the rights and freedoms we enjoy each and every day. There is no better way to show support for our ideals of liberty and educate our children about the cost of freedom than to display the American flag. With Freedom Circle, every day is Flag Day on Staten Island."
"Freedom Circle is a wonderful tribute to our nation's history that will provide a point of pride for the people of Staten Island and New York City for years to come," said Commissioner Benepe. "This beautiful and patriotic plaza is set against the stunning backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean."
The overlook was designed in a circular form to represent the cross section of a nautilus, which reflects its location on the beach. Native plantings were used to soften the previously hardscaped overlook. A dune planted with American Beachgrass was created to camouflage concrete walls at the base of the overlook. The ship railing around the perimeter of the overlook was reconstructed and a new wood railing installed. Lights were added to the ship railing to provide ambient lighting. A ring of seven American Flags with signage explains each flag's origin and moment in history, from the 1775 "Grand Union Flag" to the present "Stars and Stripes." There is lighting for the flags so they will be visible at night.
Midland Beach was acquired by New York City in 1935. Recent improvements to the area include an Entry Plaza, a Playground and the new Ocean Breeze Pier. In April, Parks & Recreation opened Midland Beach Skate Park and work has begun on a new synthetic turf field.
Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Warner Johnston (Parks & Recreation)
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