Birchwood Park, one of the first park fields that the town converted from grass to synthetic turf, in Deer Park, New York, is dedicated to providing residents with free, quality space for outdoor activities. The park’s 1.3 acres are home to lacrosse courts two handball courts, four tennis courts, two bocce ball courts and one set of swings. Half the surface area is covered by an artificial playing field that can support anything from soccer to baseball games. There are three picnic tables provided on site as well as four benches along the side for spectators. The park is completely free to the public.
Birchwood Park has been open since 1953 but became popular with residents sometime in the late 90s when grass fields started being converted to turf. At first, there were only two or three hours designated for youth sports practices and games during specific times of the day, but as more people demanded the use of the field it was extended until now its field time is almost 24/7.
The township spends about $30,000 a year on maintaining Birchwood Park which includes mowing and general upkeep, labor costs are paid by taxes collected from local citizens. The surfaces are maintained twice a week. There are no bathrooms located at Birchwood Park; however, they can be found at nearby Parkside Middle School and Deer Park High School which are both within walking distance. The field is not lighted so games can only be played during the day.
Basketball, lacrosse, street hockey and tennis are the most popular activities at Birchwood, however, due to its vast size, it can be used for many other outdoor games. On Sundays, the park is full of families with their dogs who use it as a dog park.
Since Birchwood is open for 24 hours, tournaments are held at the field on almost every holiday (New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day and Thanksgiving). Many tournaments are also held during the spring and summer months as well as before holidays. In 2008 there were tournaments to celebrate Super Bowl XLII in 2008 and Wrestlemania XXIV in 2009. The tournaments draw residents from far away places such as Freeport Park District, Selden Park District and Syosset Park district due to their proximity to Deer Park. There have been other tournaments that include teams from all over Long Island including Bellmore/Merrick, Central Islip, East Meadow, Levittown and Northport.
Birchwood Park is widely recognized as one of the best tournaments in New York State. The tournaments are usually well organized with pre-decided schedules for each round, announcers to provide commentary during games, scorekeepers to keep everyone’s stats and referees who enforce all the rules. All tournaments also have a food stand that sells snacks, hot dogs and hamburgers at reasonable prices. There are no bathrooms available so most tournaments have portable toilets on site.
Overall, Birchwood Park is an excellent place for residents to enjoy their free time with activities that are not always available in other parks.