Today’s news:

Now showing at Cooper Park: ‘fun and film’

A party in Cooper Park?

Yes, it’s true. Town Square Inc., with the help of the Cooper Park Neighborhood Association, the Open Space Alliance and Councilmember Diana Reyna, is sponsoring “Fun and Film in the Park” at Cooper Park this Saturday, September 19 (the event was originally scheduled for September 12, but was pushed back due to rain).The park is bounded by Maspeth Avenue, Morgan Avenue, and Sharon and Olive Streets.

Steven Garrelts and Carolina Asirifi, residents who live near the park, created the event as a way tobring arts, crafts and film events to their neighborhood open space this summer.

“There’s definitely a need for programing in Cooper Park,” said Garrelts, President of the Cooper Park Neighborhood Association.“There hasn’t been any organized activities in the park before, by larger groups.”

Starting at 5 p.m., events at the park include an arts and crafts table with artist Painted Cloud, a nutrition booth organized by the Greenpoint YMCA, a music program for children of all ages, and a film, “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Japanese animator, Hayao Miyazaki, on the Cooper Park lawn at sunset.

Asirifi, who uses the park mainly for its dog run, has been happy to help “share this jewel” with her friends and neighbors.

“Not only is it a great destination, but there is significant talent within the surrounding community, and this is going to be an opportunity to showcase both.This is a neighborhood-driven project,” said Asirifi.

Town Square’s Susan Anderson, whose organization has put together a music series and two candidates’ forums at East River State Park and a film series at McCarren Park, believes that for an event to be successful, there must be a desire from local residents to get involved and take on responsibilities.

“We’re very interested in seeing programming develop there.As a resident, Steve (Garrelts) was keenly interested in doing programming,” said Anderson.

Garrelts has noticed residents barbecuing near the grass, using ball fields, playing on the handball courts, but that there was little community-sponsored programing to unite different groups living around the park.With help from Town Square and funding from Reyna, Garrelts and Asirifi helped book several artists and musicians for some family-friendly entertainment.

Garrelts describes the reaction among residents to having events in the park as “hugely positive.”

“When I was handing out flyers, spreading word out, people said, ‘In Cooper Park?Really?There’s never going on there,’” said Garrelts.“We want to get it on the map like McGolrick or Sternberg.That’s why we put the map on the flyer.”

Fun and Film at Cooper Park will begin at 5 p.m. and go until 9:30 p.m.The film will start at sunset, approximately 7:30 p.m., at the Cooper Park Lawn (Olive and Sharon streets)For more information, visit www.townsquareinc.comand http://cooperpark.blogspot.com.

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