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Bocce court at Kissena Park in state of disrepair, to dismay of Queens park regulars

Bocce court at Queens park in state of disrepair
Bocce court at Queens park in state of disrepair 02:50

NEW YORK -- Bocce is a lifestyle for a group of seniors who gather daily at Kissena Park in Queens

Many nationalities are represented and age is no barrier - several competitors are in their 90s.

"There's a lot of yelling, but it's all in fun, and after the game is over, win or lose, it's forgotten about," Richard Matheis said.

But amid cheers and laughter from the Flushing park regulars, one subject elicits groans: the bocce court itself.

"It's falling apart," Matheis said.

The players say they've been asking the city for years to fix the decades-old court's cracking wood, warped equipment storage box and water fountain that runs dry, among other things. 

"We need lighting," Julio Mora said.

"We don't even have a bathroom," Eric Vincenti said.

When CBS New York reached out for comment, the Parks Department maintained it fixed things up recently and would enlist volunteers for a spring repainting.

"All they're doing is putting a Band-Aid on it," Matheis said.

The bocce players want to know why some neighborhood parks are well maintained while others go neglected. Advocates say there simply aren't enough resources to go around.

"The parks agency has been underfunded for 40 years," said Adam Ganser, executive director of New Yorkers for Parks.

He says that while conservancies help fund some parks, the vast majority don't benefit from private money.

"Right now, the mayor is proposing 15% cuts to the Parks Department," he said. "That type of cut to the agency would be devastating."

As chair of the parks committee, Council Member Shekar Krishnan wants to see the mayor make good on his campaign promise to devote 1% of the city budget to parks.

"That's not anything radical or extraordinary," he said. "That is just making sure that New York City gives the same amount of resources to parks as other major cities across the country."

The bocce players at Kissena Park are holding out hope.

"It's just a great place to play, and if we can get it fixed up a little bit and make it nicer, it's going to be wonderful," Barbara Jasinski said.

"We cherish this place," Vincenti said.

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