Dec. 17, 2021 By Christian Murray
The Parks Department has overhauled Doughboy Plaza in Woodside and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and city officials were on hand Thursday to cut the ribbon.
The plaza, which features a “Doughboy” monument that commemorates those who served in World War I, has undergone a $1.8 million makeover. The work began in October 2020 and was completed in about 12 months.
“This is a sacred space in Woodside and is now much more dignified,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “It’s a fitting tribute to our brave service men and women who fought on the front lines.”
The plaza, located on the corner of Woodside Avenue between 54th and 56th streets, had fallen into disrepair. The plaza had not been renovated since 2001, Van Bramer said, and no work had been done on the statue since 1990.
The plaza has been re-paved with bluestone pavement and the area includes several new benches. The existing flagpole was re-constructed and the WWI memorial stone tablets were relocated within a planting bed around the Doughboy statue. The statue has also been upgraded.
The landscape beds were planted with new trees, shrubs and groundcovers. The existing memorial walls feature a new granite veneer. The new veneer surrounds the 9-11 Memorial Plaque.
Gone are the uneven cobble stones, the distinctive white and green walls, and the old benches.
The plaza is a central focal point of the 1.73-acre Doughboy Park. The project also included resodding the grass areas in the park—which is currently taking place– and included the completion of the staircase leading up to the dog run.
“Woodside’s Doughboy Park now has a brand new bluestone plaza, making it a worthy space to recognize and honor all of the soldiers who gave their lives in service to their country,” said Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Michael Dockett. “We are thrilled that this project was completed in time for the community to enjoy it over the fall season, and we’re grateful to Council Member Van Bramer for his support on this transformative project.”
The “Doughboy” monument paying tribute to WW1 veterans went up in the park in 1923. Other monuments have been added since. A stone panel was installed in 2001 listing the names of the eleven major WW1 campaigns in which Americans fought, and then in 2006 a Sept. 11 memorial plaque was added dedicated to the 34 people from Woodside who died in the attacks .
A Doughboy is an informal term for an American infantryman, particularly those who fought in the trenches during WW1.