Center at Asphalt Green Reopens
Green will officially reopen the landmarked Murphy Center following
an extensive nine month, $9 million renovation on Sunday, March
10th, 2002. From 12 Noon-4 PM, parents and children of all ages
are welcome to come to “Murphy’s Fun Day” and join in the day’s
festivities. The celebration includes games, clowns, arts &
crafts, music, gymnastics and prizes. Additionally, puppet performances
of the “Three Little Pigs” by Liz Joyce and a Couple of Puppets
will be held at 1:30 & 3 PM. Storytelling by the animated
April Armstrong will be at 12:30 and 2 PM and the Sing-a-long
Storytellers will read stories and sing kids’ songs at 1:30 and
3:15 PM. All of these activities are free to the public. The celebration
will kick off with an official ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:30
AM by prominent members of the community. The Murphy Center is
the site of the former municipal asphalt plant.
The Murphy Center will now house five multi-purpose spaces including
two gymnasiums and a theater. The not-for-profit sports, fitness
and arts center was transformed into a warm, playful sports and
fitness facility with state-of-the-art equipment. Renovation highlights
include handicapped accessible bathrooms on each of the four floors,
new insulation, repair of water damage, and air conditioning throughout
the building. The renovation provides an additional 3,200 sq.
ft. of usable space for programs, a 50 percent increase.
Asphalt Green’s Murphy Center is home to many of the city’s best
programming for youth, including championship gymnastics, soccer
and basketball teams. The Murphy Center also hosts free community
partnership programs that bring much needed fitness and physical
education to public schools and not-for-profit agencies. Over
24,000 children and adults use the Murphy Center each year. The
City of New York and private donors funded the $9 million renovation.
Murphy Center is where Asphalt Green started. We look forward
to continuing its service to all New Yorkers,” said Carol Tweedy,
Executive Director of Asphalt Green.
Constructed in 1942 as an Asphalt Plant, the parabola shaped building
stands out from every other building in Manhattan. It has inspired
powerful reactions, both positive and negative. When intentionally
built, Robert Moses, czar of public construction, thundered that
it was “the most hideous waterfront structure ever inflicted on
a city.” At the time it was landmarked in 1976, Paul Goldberger,
former architecture critic of The New York Times, called it “inadvertent
but great monumental architecture.”
In 1968, the City consolidated all of its asphalt production at
one plant in Queens, condemning the mixing plant to demolition.
In the 1970s, the City planned to convert the asphalt plant into
yet another high-density, high-rise residential complex. However,
both the building and people of the community successfully fought
the City’s plan. The concrete arch resisted the wrecking ball
for three weeks. “When the wrecking ball came to knock down the
building, people stood holding hands to prevent it,” recalls resident
Susan Stackleberg. In 1984, Asphalt Green completed the initial
transformation of the building to a privately run not-for-profit
sports, fitness and arts center. The City retained ownership of
the land and buildings. In return for rental exemption, Asphalt
Green provides 1/3 of its services free to the community.
Asphalt Green is a 5.5 acre campus on 90th Street between York
and East End Avenue. In addition to the Murphy Center, Asphalt
Green includes Manhattan’s only Olympic-standard swimming pool,
a state-of-the-art fitness center, an Astroturf field, and two
public outdoor parks open to the public. Asphalt Green is dedicated
to assisting people of all ages and backgrounds to achieve health
through a lifetime of sports and fitness.
For more information about the Grand Reopening of the Murphy Center,
contact Asphalt Green at 212-369-8890 x 228 or visit www.asphaltgreen.org.
Asphalt Green’s Murphy Center is located at 555 East 90th Street,
between York and East End Avenue.
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