‘Dust’ in the win! Ridge park keeps old name mostly

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

City officials tossed aside the results of their own renaming contest for the renovated “Dust Bowl” inside Leif Ericson Park — making the winning name share billing with prior monicker of the once-denuded field.

The new name will be “Quaker Parrot Park at the Dust Bowl” — which takes the old name and adds a nod to the colorful birds that have taken up residence in the park at Eighth Avenue and 66th Street.

The overwhelming majority of voters cast their ballots for Quaker Parrot Park or the other parrot-centric name, The Parrot Bowl — but a dedicated constituency of Dust Bowl supporters chirped loudly enough to ruffle some feathers, even though the name has become obsolete since a $2.8-million renovation added a lush carpet of synthetic turf.

Officials said that 800 people voted in the contest, with 519 casting ballots for Quaker Parrot Park or The Parrot Bowl, yet only 298 voting for The Dust Bowl.

Though democracy is the clear loser, no one at Sunday’s renaming ceremony seemed to have a problem.

“I praise the decision — the Quaker parrots still have top billing,” said parrot expert Stephen Baldwin, an ad man and keeper of the website, brooklynparrots.org. “Everyone was happy.”

Old-timers were equally pleased.

“It’s a good compromise,” said Victoria Hofmo, president of the Scandinavian East Coast Museum. “Longtime residents would have kept calling it ‘The Dust Bowl’ anyway.”

Gentile defended the abrogation of basic ballot rules.

“As people cast their votes, 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,” said Gentile, who organized the contest with the Parks Department.

“No matter how dirty and dusty they got playing ball at ‘the Dust Bowl,’ they loved it all the same. In the field’s new name, we found a way to pay tribute to its past and future.”

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

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