Rory Staunton Field
Rory Staunton Field was named in 2013 for a young New Yorker who believed that his neighbors in Jackson Heights deserved more places to play. Rory Staunton (1999-2012) was a student at the Garden School, known for his civic responsibility, inspiring leadership, and kind heart. The Staunton family was one of the leading voices in support of the effort to turn the Garden School’s athletic field into public parkland, increasing the amount of recreational space in Jackson Heights by more than half an acre.
Rory Staunton (1999-2012) was a student at the Garden School, known for his civic responsibility, inspiring leadership and kind heart. In April of 2012, Staunton died of septic shock, only days after scraping his arm while playing basketball. After Rory's untimely death the Staunton family provided a leading voice in support of the effort to turn the Garden School’s athletic field into public parkland, Rory Staunton Field, increasing the amount of recreational space in Jackson Heights by more than half an acre.
Rory Staunton Field was acquired by the city in 2013 from the Garden School. Currently an asphalt park, this athletic field will be included in a future renovation alongside the adjacent Travers Park.
Staunton’s death helped to inspire the New York State Department of Health to implement protocols in all New York hospitals to better identify and treat sepsis, and the creation of the Rory Staunton Foundation to educate the public about this infection, which is usually treatable if quickly diagnosed.
Rory Staunton Field Dedication Ceremony
At the dedication ceremony opening Rory Staunton Field in 2013 Senator Chuck Schumer said "This dedication is a worthy recognition of a wonderful and vibrant boy, Rory Staunton, who was taken from us too soon. I have no doubt that Rory's spirit of community and caring and fun will pervade this place and bring smiles to untold generations of fellow New Yorkers for a long, long time to come. Kudos to the Bloomberg Administration, the Staunton family, the Queens communities and the Parks Department for their work on this worthiest of projects."
“Rory was an amazing boy whose civic engagement and understanding went far beyond his years,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “Like his parents, Rory was a leader among his peers. This dedication is more than a fitting tribute to the Staunton family and their continued contributions to the Jackson Heights community but, more importantly, it honors the life and memory of Rory Staunton. I hope his spirit will fill this park for generations to come.”
“Rory fiercely advocated for this field to become a public park. His dedication gave his father, Ciaran, the energy to push on against all odds to make that vision a reality,” said New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). “It is fitting to name this field after a young man who was so dedicated to his classmates and community. In the coming months, we will be working with the community to improve this field so it can be an even better asset to our neighborhood.”
Dudley Stewart president of the The Jackson Heights Green Alliance said his organization was "delighted that the Garden School field will be named after Rory Staunton. Rory and his family were instrumental in making sure that the space became parkland, and we are extremely grateful towards them. Rory's amazing life was ended far too soon, having this field named after him will ensure he will never be forgotten by us and future generations who will enjoy Jackson Heights's newest park space.”
After a preliminary agreement was reached between the City and the Garden School in 2012, the property for Staunton Field was officially acquired by the City in the beginning of 2013. Under an agreement with the Garden School, which formerly owned this property, the school will continue to use the field during school hours for five years. The acquisition was funded with $6 million, $4 million through the efforts of Council Member Danny Dromm, $1 million from Borough President Helen Marshall, and $1 million from the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.
Rory Staunton Field will be included in a future renovation, alongside the adjacent Travers Park. The improvements to Travers Park will be funded with $2 million allocated by Council Member Dromm and $600,000 allocated by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, with improvements to Rory Staunton Field funded by an additional $1.1 million allocated by Council Member Dromm.
Related Wiki Pages
-  Parks Department Press Release