Strack Pond in Forest Park, located across from the Forest Park Carousel was named in honor of Private First Class Laurence Strack who was the first resident of Woodhaven to die during the Vietnam War. Private Strack used to play baseball for Rich-Haven and the fields here were named in his honor in 1969. When the fields were converted back to a pond (which is what they were originally) they retained the name.
Here is a very interesting document, courtesy of American Legion Post 118 in Woodhaven. This is the original resolution calling on the City of New York, and Mayor John Lindsay, to name one of the baseball fields after Private Strack, who parents were members of the Post. Click here to follow the American Legion Woodhaven Post 118 on Facebook.
There were a number of articles in the local papers reporting on the Legion's resolution - and their resolution bore fruit as both fields (and eventual pond) were named in his honor on February 11, 1969.
Strack Pond is a remarkable place to walk around - and there is a really nice walking path which you can enter from Forest Park Drive. There are 2 entrances to the path, one across from the bandshell parking lot and another just off Woodhaven Boulevard (across the street from the chess tables). Walk in either one of those entrances and follow it down to the pond and back up again, it's a beautiful walk, not too long, and well worth the effort.
The path is well-marked, with wooden railings for a good portion of the path through the woods. The path near the bandshell is a cement path (we'll see that in a bit).
The path circles around the pond and there are several breaking points where you can either overlook the pond, or walk down a different path to the pond's edge.
Hard to believe there used to be two baseball fields here. You can't see it, but the Carousel is behind the trees in the upper-right.
At the water's edge there were a gazillion tadpoles, swimming all over the place. This picture gives you an idea of how many there were -- but not how fast they were moving.
This is a great place to walk through and enjoy the sights and the wildlife that live there peacefully. We're fortunate to have such a place in our community - and I was happy to see so many people enjoying it there today.
The paths are every bit as interesting as the pond.
The pond is always visible and sometimes it looks even nicer when there's a little greenery in the way - like this!
It was a beautiful day for a walk to the pond.
The tadpoles were a constant source of fascination for everyone who visited the pond.
A lot of the wildlife is right in front of your eyes - but they blend in so well with the scenery you really need to take your time and look around. If you took the time to walk here - what's your rush?
There is a nice comfortable rock at the main edge of the pond. Part of me wishes that there were a few benches around the edge - but that would spoil the natural look and feel of the pond.
Here is the path back to the top. Looks like a huge tree with two large branches fell across the road and the Parks Department cut a helpful path. I watched some kids have a field day counting the rings on the tree.
Again, sometimes it's nice when there's some greenery in the way of the pond.
The view looking down towards the pond --
And the view looking up towards the bandshell --
It's a beautiful pond and a real gem that we have here in Woodhaven. At this time of year, just a week shy of Memorial Day, please take a few moments to remember the resident of Woodhaven this beautiful place is named after.
A Visit to Strack Pond in 2009
A Visit to Strack Pond in 2010
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Photos by Joey Wendell