Monday, August 27, 2012

The New Parks in Hunts Point Are Great…If You Can Find Them
The POINT Community Development Corporation's Summer Youth Employment Program highlights opportunities and challenges for physical activity in Hunts Point

This summer, Bronx Health REACH and the Partnership for a Healthier New York City partnered with the POINT Community Development Corporation’s Summer Youth Employment (SYEP) A.C.T.I.O.N. program to better understand the opportunities and concerns around physical activity in the Bronx.

In early July, Candida Bido from the Bronx District Public Health Office and Paula Park presented to the youth about major health issues in the Bronx, physical activity programs, and parks usage. Most of the youth use the parks 2-3 times a week primarily for exercise/hanging out with friends, including playing basketball and bike riding; their parents do not use the parks for exercise, but they attend BBQs in the park and bring their younger children.

In late July, Elizabeth Hambley from Boogie Down Rides conducted a training and visioning session about improving opportunities for biking in Hunts Point, including working with the youth to design their ideal bike environment. Also, Juan Camilo conducted a geographic information system (GIS) mapping workshop with the youth to develop a map of assets and barriers to physical activity in Hunts Point.

In addition to meeting with community organizations to learn more about health and physical activity in the Bronx, the youth surveyed Hunts Point residents about the parks. Most of the adults surveyed knew about Barretto Point Park and Riverside Park in Hunts Point and felt safe at the local parks. About half of those surveyed thought the parks were clean. Finally, the survey asked what activities residents would like to have in the parks. The following activities were mentioned: BBQs, salsera, carnival, teen events, music/performances, block party, movie night, and swimming.

For their end of summer event, the youth led a bike tour of the parks and green spaces in Hunts Point on August 16th. “Pedal the Point” aimed to raise awareness about the opportunities for physical activity and recreation in the community and draw attention to some of the inconveniences of getting to the parks, including dangerous traffic and awful smells coming from the market. The bike route included: Riverside Park, Drake Park, Hunts Point Landing, Barretto Point Park and the Hunts Point Recreation Center. Twenty-five people attended the bike ride, including 15 youth, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, and Sustainable South Bronx. Click here for photos!

Thank you to the POINT and this amazing group of youth for an eye opening bike ride and fantastic summer! The bike tour really showcased that while there are some opportunities for physical activity in Hunts Point, it’s very hard to find the parks and very dangerous to get to them. It is critical that we make it easier to get to these parks if we hope to improve the health of Bronx residents. Possible solutions include extending the bus service to Barretto Point Park in the fall and spring and creating bike paths to Hunts Point Landing once it opens. We look forward to partnering with the POINT, Assemblyman Crespo and these amazing youth on this initiative over the next year.


After a competitive process, Bronx Health REACH, a program of the Institute for Family Health, was selected as the Borough Lead Organization (BLO) for the Bronx by the Partnership for a Healthier New York City (Partnership). The Partnership is a newly formed nonprofit funded through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Transformation Grant (CTG) received by the New York City Health Department. CTG supports community-level efforts to reduce chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes by promoting healthy lifestyles, especially among population groups experiencing the greatest burden of chronic disease. As the BLO, Bronx Health REACH is organizing and leading a borough-wide coalition of community partners that will work with the Partnership to impact positive change in health behaviors related to healthy eating, active living, tobacco-free living and reduced excessive and underage alcohol consumption in the Bronx.

To learn more about the POINT and the SYEP A.C.T.I.O.N. program, please visit and

To learn more about Bronx Health REACH’s work as a Borough Lead, or to join our coalition, please contact Emma Rodgers at (212) 633-0800 x1249 or

For more information about the Partnership for a Healthier NYC, please call (646) 619-6499.

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