Community Sports

Walking Through DeFilippo Park, “The Gassy”

The Gassy is surrounded by residential buildings and a parking garage.

NEWRA’s Parks & Open Spaces Committee toured DeFilippo Park on April 10th to brainstorm ideas for improving the open space for residents. Also known as “The Gassy,” neighbors complain the park does not get the attention of higher profile parks, despite its heavy use and dense surroundings. About 10 people showed up for the walkthrough, led by committee co-chairs Anne Pistorio and David Kubiak.

One of the challenges of the park is that users have a myriad of needs that are not always compatible. Types of users include toddlers (and parents), walkers, dogs, teens, seniors, casual readers, athletes and sports teams.

Tot lot at the Gassy, DeFilippo Playground.

Shown to the right is the tot lot at the Gassy. The unpaved areas around it are generally just dirt and weeds. The lot itself has a new picnic table installed recently for parents and children to eat. Parents often complain the toys are not put away.

Prince Street resident Sue B. nearly up to her knees in water after the March rainfall.

As shown in the picture to the left, the Gassy often floods. The catch basins don’t drain within the park. This type of flooding creates a soupy mess and prevents any landscaping from taking hold. The committee intends to research the drainage plan and identify solutions.

The mix of dog walkers and children is particularly difficult and the group thought it might be better to separate the two groups by creating a dog park. 

Should part of “the flights” be used for a dog park?

One possible are for a dog park is in an underutilized area of the park called “the flights.” It is a raised section with 3 levels that are connected by stairs leading to  to SnowHill Street. Committee members intend to investigate if part of the flights area can be made into a dog park. Currently, the flights are hangouts for teens and nefarious activities.


During the walkthrough, multiple dogs relieved themselves on the small plots of grass around the swing area.

The children’s swing area is fenced off from dogs, but most dog walkers use the grass areas around the tot lot and swings. Parents are concerned about their kids playing on the grass. One parent thought the grass should be removed to dissuade dog walking near the areas for children. Another complaint is that the swing area is too small without enough swings.

Lack of lighting in these sectioned off areas creates a destination for drug dealing with needles often found here.

Lighting on the flights was also raised as a concern. Residents report the raised levels are used for drug dealing, with needles found in the area. Developing a partnership with the abutting garage was discussed. Residents remembered that lights used to be mounted on the garage.

Many of the trees in the Gassy are suffering from neglect and disease.Tree pruning and graffiti removal is on the committee’s “to do” list, especially on the flights. Members intend to eventually reach out to the Parks Department, recognizing that City resources are limited. Initially, the committee would request some basic maintenance.

This wall along SnowHill St. is gradually leaning. Many of the walls inside the park are also in need of repair.

Longer term, the committee is looking at various ways to involve residents and raise money to fund capital needs. The creation of a “Friends” group has been successful at other parks such as Christopher Columbus Park. Bringing in other neighborhood groups that use the park is also being considered. Such organizations include the North End/Waterfront Mothers’ Association (NEWMA), the North End Athletic Association (NEAA), the North End Dog Owners Group (NEDOG), and community arts organizations (NEMPAC).

The heavily used athletic areas are showing wear & tear, including the Italian flag painting.

These issues and follow-up will be discussed at the next meeting of the Parks & Open Spaces Committee which will be held on Wednesday, April 28th, 7pm at the Nazzaro Center. All are welcome. Visit for more information.

See the Calendar for upcoming meetings and events.