WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, N.Y., June 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Sixty years to the week when Major League Baseball owners voted to allow the New York Giants to leave for San Francisco, Pernod Ricard USA is teaming up with the national environmental nonprofit EarthShare and their member group, New York Restoration Project (NYRP), to become a catalyst for change in the upper Manhattan neighborhood where the iconic Polo Grounds stadium once stood. Hundreds of employees from the company's Manhattan and Westchester offices today participated in a variety of community improvement projects aimed at restoring five acres of high quality green open space for the roughly 7,000 local residents who live in nearby public housing projects.
NYRP used today's initiative to launch a community planning process to craft a broader vision for the renovation of open space in collaboration with city and state officials, local civic and arts organizations, as well as the NY Giants Preservation Society and the San Francisco Giants.
Today's volunteer effort is part of Pernod Ricard's annual "Responsib'all Day," in which 18,000 global employees work with local communities to create "convivial, shared spaces." The project builds on Pernod Ricard's work last year restoring a northern section of Highbridge Park where people can now stroll, hike, and picnic. EarthShare, a national consortium of environmental groups, has worked with Pernod Ricard USA to produce seven additional Responsib'all Day projects to help communities in need across the U.S.
NYRP Executive Director Deborah Marton said today's volunteer efforts have accelerated momentum behind efforts to revitalize the Polo Grounds area. State Senator Marisol Alcantara, Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa, and Deputy Borough President Matthew Washington from the Manhattan Borough President's Office were among the public officials that attended today's event.
Following the New York Giants' move to San Francisco in 1957, The Polo Grounds was demolished in 1964 to make way for two public housing projects now known as Polo Grounds Towers and Rangel Houses.
The adjacent five-acre section of Highbridge Park is the only green open space within a five-minute walking distance for all the projects' nearly 7,000 residents. The overgrown invasive vegetation and mounds of trash in this section of the park have made it inaccessible to the community.
Meri-Margaret Deoudes, President and CEO of EarthShare, noted that a large and growing body of research shows that access to high-quality open green space strengthens communities by improving public health and social capital, and discourages unsafe practices such as drug use and trash dumping.
Today's "greening" work – which involved clearing overgrown vegetation, removing trash and planting native trees and plants (while also building tree guards and enhancing a nearby community garden) – is a welcome move towards restoring the legacy of the vast green expanse that once was the Polo Grounds outfield, said Gary Mintz, director of the New York Giants Preservation Society. Mintz and Staci Slaughter, Executive Vice President of the San Francisco Giants, also expressed interest in discussions underway among NYRP, Pernod Ricard and a local arts group, regarding the possible creation of a mural in the area commemorating the Polo Grounds and such legendary Giants players as Willie Mays, Bobby Thomson and Mel Ott. Several years ago, the San Francisco Giants helped to finance the renovation of a stairway in Highbridge Park that once led to the ticket booths behind home plate at the Polo Grounds. Giants relief pitcher Mark Melancon visited the site during the Giants' last trip to New York and spent time with members of the Preservation Society talking about the club's history.
Marton said work on the park will continue later this summer with the help of several other projects conducted by corporate partners. She added that NYRP and its volunteers will draw inspiration from some other city park success stories, including Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem. NYRP was founded in 1995 by Bette Midler, and has conducted several restoration projects in Highbridge Park for more than 20 years.
About Pernod Ricard USA®
Pernod Ricard USA is the premium spirits and wine company in the U.S., and the largest subsidiary of Paris, France-based Pernod Ricard SA, which employs a workforce of nearly 19,000 people worldwide and is listed on the NYSE Euronext exchange (Ticker: RI).
The company's leading spirits and wines include such prestigious brands as Absolut® Vodka, Chivas Regal® Scotch Whisky, The Glenlivet® Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Jameson® Irish Whiskey, Malibu®, Kahlúa® Liqueur, Beefeater® Gin, Plymouth™ Gin, Seagram's Extra Dry Gin®, Martell® Cognac, Hiram Walker® Liqueurs, Pernod®, Ricard® and Avión™ Tequila; such superior wines as Jacob's Creek®, Kenwood® Vineyards and Brancott Estate®; and such exquisite champagnes and sparkling wines as Perrier-Jouët® Champagne, G.H. Mumm™ Champagne and Mumm Napa® sparkling wines.
Pernod Ricard USA is based in New York, New York, and has roughly 850 employees across the country. Pernod Ricard USA urges all adults to consume its products responsibly and has an active campaign to promote responsible drinking. For more information on this, please visit: www.responsibility.org.
EarthShare is the 501(c)(3) partner working at the intersection of the environmental community and corporate America to amplify sustainability efforts by galvanizing the power of employees. With an established member network of nearly 600 of America's most respected nonprofits behind it, EarthShare helps channel the passion for purpose in an evolving workforce to ensure a sustainable future. For more information contact: Mary MacDonald, Mary@EarthShare.org
About New York Restoration Project
New York Restoration Project (NYRP) is a nonprofit organization driven by the conviction that all New Yorkers deserve beautiful, high-quality public space within walking distance of their homes. Since its founding in 1995 by Bette Midler, NYRP has planted trees, renovated gardens, restored parks, and transformed open space for communities throughout New York City's five boroughs. As New York's only citywide conservancy, it brings private resources to spaces that lack adequate municipal support, fortifying the city's aging infrastructure and creating a healthier environment for those who live in the most densely populated and least green neighborhoods.
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SOURCE Pernod Ricard USA