Randall's Island , Manhattan, New York City
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Randall's Island is situated in the East River in New York City. It is separated from Manhattan on the west by the river's main channel, from Queens on the east by the Hell Gate, and from the Bronx on the north by the Bronx Kill. It is joined to Ward's Island on the south by landfill. Together, the two islands form New York County's Census Tract 240, which had a total population of 1,386 living on 2.2 km˛ of land area, according to the United States Census, 2000. Administratively, it is part of the borough of Manhattan.
Randall's Island Sports Foundation (RISF) was founded in 1992 as a public-private partnership to work on behalf of Randall's Island Park.
The Foundation, in conjunction with City leadership, works to realize the Island's unique potential by developing sports and recreational facilities, restoring its vast natural environment, reclaiming and maintaining parkland, and sponsoring community-linked programs for the children of New York City.
RISF's signature facility on Randall's Island, Icahn Stadium, was opened on April 23, 2005. The Stadium, a world-class track & field facility, is capable of hosting local, regional and national events. In addition, over 65 new and improved playing fields will begin development in 2006.
Additional projects include a new Boardwalk just adjacent to the Stadium, leading to the Little Hell Gate Inlet - where a restored salt marsh and freshwater wetlands will soon improve water quality and wildlife habitat. This Boardwalk will also connect to roughly a mile of visible and accessible pedestrian and bicycle trails between the Inlet and the 103rd Street Footbridge from Manhattan, with interpretive signage and increased access to waterfront resources and current and future Park facilities.
Upcoming projects, slated for the next few years, include a Water Park, a 20-court Tennis Center, a Visitors/Nature Center, additional pathway sections, and extensive environmental restoration. Programming at Randall's Island includes visits by Cirque du Soleil and an annual summer concert series.
RISF also runs its free Randall's Island Kids (RIK) youth programs at the Park. Working in partnership with local public schools and community-based organizations in Harlem and the South Bronx, RIK brings thousands of children to the Park each year for a range of free sports and environmental education activities. These programs will continue to grow in terms both of capacity and complexity as new recreational, athletic and environmental facilities are developed.
RISF's Management, Restoration & Development Plan is being carried out through a calibrated balance of individual, corporate and foundation philanthropy and public funding, alongside private investment in facilities planned to generate much-needed revenue toward Park maintenance. Others consider the over reliance on privatization and corporate dominated funding as reckless and elitist. The Foundation is a model for urban renewal and revitalization as it works on the most important new recreational resource in New York City.
The Triborough Bridge complex, whose hub is located on the island, provides vehicular and pedestrian access from the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. The railroad viaduct approach to the Hell Gate Bridge passes overhead. There is also a footbridge leading to the island from 103rd Street in Manhattan which is open daily from April 1 through October 31.
The island is home to the New York City Fire Department's training academy and some other public facilities. Most of the island, however, is a city park. Once neglected, it recently has evolved into a sports complex under the guidance of the Randall's Island Sports Foundation. There is a driving range, miniature golf course, and tennis courts. The park's baseball, soccer, and lacrosse fields host school and serious amateur league games, as well as more casual play. The newly built Icahn Stadium replaced the old Downing Stadium in 2005 and is the site of high school and college track and field competitions.
On September 9, 2007, Farm Aid 2007: A Homegrown Festival will take place here along with Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, Dave Matthews and many other artists.
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