A Bayside man is rolling up his sleeves to help refurbish an abandoned bocce ball court in Astoria Park. NY1’s Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.
In the shadow of the Hell Gate Bridge, former Marine Danny Berrios is tending to a bocce ball court that has seen better days.
"The weeds were about a foot high, there were a lot of rocks and twigs and branches in it," said Berrios.
The Bayside resident recently got into the sport, playing at Francis Lewis Park in Whitestone.
He grew up in Astoria but when he came back to this bocce court at Astoria Park, it wasn’t quite as he remembered.
"I was so sad to see the condition it was in. It was horrible," said Berrios.
So, he got permission to ‘adopt’ the court from the Parks Department.
Since then he has spent about five hours of every day over the past two months cleaning up the court.
"It's just a labor of love. I love this park and I'm willing to give my time and I'm willing to give a 150% to this project. And it means so much to me to do this," said Berrios.
He says he's received great feedback from park goers and several volunteers have jumped in to help. He even put up a sign, reading "Bocce is Coming Back" to let people know what's underway.
"I want people to enjoy this game, I want people to learn how to play it, it's a family game, we're in a family atmosphere here in Astoria Park," said Berrios.
But there's still a lot of work left. Berrios says he plans on installing a drain and removing the rotten wooden bumpers before laying a new surface and painting.
He says if all goes according to plan, the new courts will be ready by April.