Time to rename the ‘Dust Bowl’

The dust has settled in a contest to rename a once-gritty section of a popular Bay Ridge park, as officials this week announced the three finalists vying for the chance to immortalize the rehabilitated ball fields popularly — and officially — known as the Dust Bowl.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) are sponsoring an online vote to rename the recently renovated park, at Eighth Avenue and 65th Street, once famous for its literal dust ups and — more recently — resident parrots.

The new name will be one of three choices: Quaker Parrot Park, The Parrot Bowl, or the Dust Bowl.

Since the Dust Bowl, named for its famous inability to grow grass, has been covered in synthetic turf, officials decided the name change was in order, and hatched a renaming contest earlier this summer. Approximately 150 suggestions were received, according to Gentile, who organized the initiative.

The lawmaker said a majority of suggestions paid tribute to the field’s avian residents, the Quaker Parrots, who even got new digs out of the parks makeover — nests built atop the newly installed lights.

“I didn’t expect so many people to want the field’s new name to reference the Quaker Parrots, but I think it’s great they did,” Gentile said. “We love that they’re here and that they’ve become a protected part of our neighborhood, and it looks like a lot of people want to recognize that Bay Ridge has become the parrots’ home by renaming the field after them.”

But not everyone is keen on a name change, particularly a moniker paying tribute to the field’s fine-feathered friends.

“Who knows how long they will be there,” said longtime Bay Ridge resident Frank O’Brien.

Indeed, the colorful birds have recently had their feathers ruffled by poachers who have been thinning their numbers.

“What if all the birds are stolen? [Naming the field after them] will give a bad reputation because the system couldn’t protect the birds,” he said. “If anything, call it the ‘New Dust Bowl.’ If you paint the Brooklyn Bridge, will you change its name? This is tradition — everyone knows this as ‘the Dust Bowl.’ ”

Besides the bird’s nests, the renovated field features a new baseball diamond, dugouts, lights, turf, movable soccer goals.

To vote, go to vincentgentile.blogspot.com/2010/08/rename-dust-bowl.html. The voting period will end on Sept. 30, and the winning name will be announced in October.

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