PTNY is sad to share the news of the passing of a devoted park Friends group leader. Bill Bylewski was a founding member of Friends of Gantry Neighborhood Parks and devoted countless hours as a volunteer gardener and community leader to maintaining Gantry Plaza State Park’s beauty.
The Friends of Gantry was formed in 1998 by a group of concerned residents with a goal to take care of the Long Island City community’s parks, trees and natural areas.
In 2012, the group was awarded a $2,600 Growing the Grassroots grant from PTNY to raise awareness of the Friends and the park. The effort, led by Bill, helped greatly increase the number of individuals engaged with the organization and the park.
When the adjoining city park, Hunters Point South Park, opened in 2013, Bill had the vision to see that one Friends group dedicated to the unique needs of both parks would better serve the community’s interest than two separate groups competing for human and financial resources. Bill took the lead in bringing together the community to make that happen. Watch a short video of Bill describing the launch of the new Hunters Point Parks Conservancy last summer.
The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy celebrated Bill’s memory at a ceremony in July at the park he loved so much.