‘Dust Bowl’ controversy — now our columnist has seen it all!

‘Dust’ in the win! Ridge park keeps old name mostly
Photo by Tom Callan

It’s still days before Election Day — but there’s already a voting scandal in Bay Ridge.

Over the summer, Councilman Vince Gentile (D-Bay Ridge) and the Parks Department announced a contest to rename the Dust Bowl, that once-haggard field at Eighth Avenue and 66th Street inside Leif Ericson Park.

The field had gotten a $2.8-million renovation, so officials figured a new name would go well with its new carpet of artificial turf.

Voters were choosing between three finalists: Quaker Parrot Park and The Parrot Bowl, both recognition of the birds who live in and around the park; and The Dust Bowl, a nod to the status quo — and to the old-timers who helped keep Gentile in office for the last seven years.

Voters flocked to cast their votes, with 519 choosing Quaker Parrot Park or The Parrot Bowl, with 298 choosing The Dust Bowl.

“It became clear that while residents love the improved field and wanted to celebrate the fact that parrots nest in the field lights, they also have a soft spot for the role the Dust Bowl played in their lives,” Gentile said.

It soon became clear that the only winner in this sham contest would be political expediency.

The new name, Gentile announced on Sunday, is Quaker Parrot Park at the Dust Bowl.

Ostrich Park might be more apropos.

After all, officials chose to bury their head in the sand rather than dealing with the possible controversy that comes from abiding by election results.

Dust Bowl no more: Councilman Vince Gentile unveiled the new name for the formerly famously denuded portion of Leif Ericson Park in Bay Ridge — and it honors the parrots who call the place home.
Photo by Tom Callan