Spring break field trip • Brooklyn Paper

Spring break field trip

The biker gang: Yahiry Xique and Maya Ortega try out some of the bikes offered by the National Parks Service. They and other students spent the day at the Ryan Center and the Millennium Development exploring some of the fun activities offered at Floyd Bennett Field.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

These kids are on vacation, and they still get a field trip!

Students from Mill Basin, Marine Park, and East Flatbush enjoyed a spring break field trip on Tuesday courtesy of Millennium Development, the National Parks Service, and the NYC Greenway Project, which arranged for the kids to head down to Floyd Bennett Field and explore some of the outdoor activities offered in a place many count as among the borough’s hidden gems.

“Floyd Bennett Field is a treasure underneath our noses, which a lot of people don’t take advantage of,” said Millennium director Paul Curiale. “The kids had a great time, and a lot of them didn’t even know this park existed.”

National Park Service rangers were on hand to instruct the 200 or so borough scholars on several of the popular outdoor sports and activities that can be enjoyed at Floyd Bennett, including archery, kayaking, bike riding, camping, and bird watching.

“We probably had close to 200 kids from junior high and elementary schools in Southern Brooklyn, who got to enjoy a little taste of some outdoor fun activities at their national park,” Curiale explained.

The event was held in part to advertise a not quite, but almost reopened Floyd Bennett Field, large parts of which were closed to the public due to Hurricane Sandy.

“They’re trying to encourage a lot of residents to go back to the park, because they feel they might have been scared away by Sandy,” said Curiale.

The North 40 woodlands remain closed due the Army Corps of Engineer’s wood chipping and Sandy debris removal operations, and a small fishing plot nearby to the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge also remains off limits due to hazards created by the hurricane.

All other sections, including the Ryan Visitor Center, have reopened, although the kids rarely ventured into the old airport terminal on account of all the outdoor fun they were having and, of course, the lovely weather on one of the year’s first truly fair spring days.

“They opened up the Ryan Center for us,” said Curiale, “but the kids were having so much fun they stayed outdoors. It was a great day.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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