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2003-11-20 / Front Page

Bergen Beach Community Center Named For Youth Advocate

By Neil S. Friedman
Bergen Beach Community Center Named For Youth Advocate By Neil S. Friedman

By Neil S. Friedman

Surrounding new Bergen Beach community center sign are (left to right) State Senator Carl Kruger, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Asst. Parks Commissioner Edward Lewis, State Senator Marty Golden, Congressman Anthony Weiner, State Senator Frank Seddio, Commissioner Julius Spiegel.

Hundreds of guests, including local elected officials and other guests, attended a ceremony at a Bergen Beach community center last week as it was renamed for a former community resident and activist.

Located in the 77-acre McGuire Park on Bergen Avenue, between avenues V and X, the community center for southeastern Brooklyn is now called the John Malone Center, named for the man who founded the Bergen Beach Youth Organization in 1981.

Among the notables present were New York City Parks Department & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Borough President Marty Markowitz, State senators Carl Kruger and Marty Golden, Assemblyman Frank Seddio, City Councilman Lew Fidler, Congressman Anthony Weiner, Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Julius Spiegel, Community Board 18 District Manager Dorothy Turano and Chief Joseph Fox of NYPD South.

Hosted by the Bergen Beach Youth Organization, several hundred adults and children from many local civic associations, schools, churches and community groups were also on hand for the dedication, in addition to dozens of members of the Malone family, including his widow Joan. The Marine Park Junior High School Band performed at the Center located in McGuire Park.

"John Malone devoted his life to Brooklyn and the community’s youth, and this dedication is a fitting tribute to his commitment," said Commissioner Benepe. "With the support of the Bergen Beach Youth Organization, this center brings educational and recreational programs to thousands of Brooklynites."

Malone, who passed away in 1991, was a tireless force in the community and instrumental in bringing ball fields to the area. McGuire Park now has a variety of recreational opportunities, such as a roller hockey rink, tennis courts, basketball courts and ball fields.

John Malone was born on November 6, 1936 to Mary and Joseph Malone, Sr. in Gravesend, Brooklyn. When he was 17, Malone signed a contract to play baseball with the New York Giants. He later participated in the team’s spring training camp, but sustained injuries that ended his promising big league career.

Despite the setback, Malone was inspired to create a sports program for Brooklyn youth and devoted his efforts for the youth of the community. With assistance from elected officials, civic associations and community residents, additional ball fields and a field house were built on vacant land adjacent to McGuire Park.

Thanks to the leadership of John Malone, the Bergen Beach Youth Organization continues to serve thousands of youngsters through sports and after school programs. The organization also assists the elderly by sponsoring various senior citizen programs.

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