Councilmember Stephen Levin (second from left) honored Brooklyn Friends School Head Dr. Larry Weiss (left) and Athletic Director David Gardella. Right: BFS parent and park Community Advisory Council member Doreen Gallo. Photo by Mary Frost.

What does it take to get a world-class, regulation size playing field built on the Brooklyn waterfront?

Students at Brooklyn Friends School (BFS) learned on Monday that it takes peaceful cooperation, collaboration and perseverance – core Quaker values.

Councilmember Stephen Levin honored BFS Headmaster Dr. Larry Weiss and Athletic Director David Gardella with proclamations on Monday for their role in bringing a regulation-size field to Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

It will have “a lasting impact on generations of sports teams,” Levin said as he presented the proclamations to Dr. Weiss and Coach Gardella.

“What’s better than a picturesque place to play a championship game on the Brooklyn waterfront?” he added.

The park had originally planned to build three small soccer fields on the five-acre pier, disappointing Gardella and other athletic directors in the area.

Weiss and Gardella worked hand-in-hand with local schools – including St. Francis College, Berkeley Carroll, Saint Ann’s and Packer — to come up with a revised plan to present to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation.

While the park’s administration had originally been cautious, “We tried really hard to gather consensus, think collaboratively and creatively, and achieve a positive outcome for the public,” Levin said.

The collaboration resulted in the new, regulation-size field suitable for tournament play. The field flanks another smaller field, and can be divided into two when not in use.

“It was our pleasure to work with BFS and our local schools on the Pier 5 sports fields at Brooklyn Bridge Park,” BBPC spokesperson Belinda Cape said. “Working together, we now provide a world class venue that has become immensely popular with players of all ages from all over the city.”

Doreen Gallo, a BFS parent and a member of the BBP Community Advisory Council, called Gardella the “catalyst.”

“David Gardella would not take no for an answer,” she said.

She praised Dr. Weiss for his perseverance in spearheading the interaction with other schools, and said Councilmember Levin had shown “true leadership.”

BFS is increasing its role in the local community, Dr. Weiss said. “We try to foster our learning community, but are paying increasing attention to the larger community, with support from people like Stephen Levin and Doreen Gallo.”

The sports field benefits not only the private schools who advocated for it, but public schools and adult sports teams as well.



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