Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto park is located in Richmond Hill, Queens. The park borders Atlantic Avenue and 95 Avenue between 125th and 127th streets.

From everyday observances, one can easily notice that the park is highly diverse and acts as a great place to hold events, interact and have fun in the Richmond Hill area. The area has a notable presence of West Indians, mostly Guyanese, Indians and Hispanics. The diversity can clearly be seen at the park and provides an accurate representation of the entire neighborhood.

The 2010 data from US Census Bureau shown above clearly demonstrates the population gradient of the Richmond Hill area.


The majority of the population in the neighborhood is foreign born

Elements of Religion


A fascinating element about the Smokey Oval is the religious presence in and around the park, which is also part of the reason why it was renamed to Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto park. The Richmond Hill area around the park houses over five different places of worship and religious organizations, which frequently host events at the park with private permits. Moreover the park acts as a gathering point for various individuals who come together after attending their respective religious ceremonies. According to several interviews that were conducted, the older population of the area gathers around the park right after religious services at the local Gurudwara, the Sikh place of worship, and the Hindu temples.

The Sikh and Hindu religious presence can clearly be felt at the park and by observing the adjacent area. The locals fully exhibit their cultural pride through flags, vinyl stickers, hood ornaments etc.  Almost every other car parked around the park displayed, “The Khanda”, (Sikh coat of arms) which is one of the most important symbols in Sikhism. The Hindus on the other hand don’t fall short on displaying their pride either as almost every Hindu household, car etc. is ornamented with representations of various deities, symbols and colors.


Despite the apparent cultural and religious diversity, the park acts as a central point of cohesion for the neighborhood. Different ethnicities come together and celebrate holidays which are specific to another group. During a specific interview an Indian resident remarked that “Why do you consider West Indians to be any different from us [Republic of India]? We share the same ancestry, and are the same group of people.” Furthermore through international sports such as cricket, different people come together as one in Smokey Oval park. The notion of community is further established through various events that take place in this small, one block wide area amid the noise of the traffic and the screeching LIRR trains.

Comments are closed.