City Island’s great dolphin controversy has been resolved
The city Parks Department has agreed not to relocate the islanders’ beloved dolphin sculpture from Hawkins Park.
The flipper-related imbroglio began when the City Council allotted $250,000 to renovate the park at City Island Ave. and Hawkins St.
Parks officials drew up plans to spruce up the paths and planters, as well as remove the dolphin from the center of the park, where it has sat – and been a favorite of climbing youngsters – since 1972.
Parks officials said the statue needed to be moved because safety padding they would have had to install around the statue in case a youngster fell off would have taken up too much space in its present location, according to the City Island Civic Association.
Residents were furious.
“The dolphin has been there as long as I can remember, and I’ve been here 47 years,” said Kathryn Intrieri, 67, of City Island. “I walked my children in this park, and now I’m walking my grandchildren. It’s just been there so long.”
About 300 letters arrived at the civic association from students at Public School 175. Only two said they wanted the dolphin removed.
Asked on a recent day if he cared whether the dolphin stayed or was moved, Jeff Bremen, 45, of City Island, responded, “You’re damn right I do!”
“The dolphin should stay right where it is. It’s part of the park. It’s been there for years and years, and nobody ever got hurt on it.”
“The dolphin will be kept in the park,” said local City Councilman James Vacca. “We’re hoping that even maybe it can be kept exactly where it is.”
Vacca (D-City Island) said there was a unanimous consensus from the City Island Civic Association that, “they wanted the dolphin kept in the park, and I’ve been assured that we’ve accomplished that. I think that this has all worked out fine.”
It’s obvious how City Island residents feel about the outcome.
A huge banner with “Thank You” on it adorned the park last week, along with notes written in crayon to the parks department from local children.
One read, “The Dolphin’s Staying,” while another read, “We Love Our Dolphin.”
“I think the dolphin is symbolic of City Island, and the kids love him,” said local resident Maura Mandrano, 53. “He should absolutely stay. I can’t imagine the park without him.”
BY Mike Jaccarino