not just a walk in the park

The manic energy and optimism that typically character ize ad agencies (even in these trying times) was focused last week on Owl’s Head Park in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. Grey’s New York office sent about 450 staffers to beautify the place last Wednesday as part of a volunteer initiative from agency president Steve Blamer, who termed it “Grey Give Back Day.”

In a memo to staffers, Blamer noted that Grey has been headquartered in New York since 1917, and that a return favor to the city was long overdue. “This year, more than ever, it is a way to say ‘thanks’ to the great city that’s had more than its share of pain lately,” he wrote.

The volunteer effort was originally scheduled for last Oct. 3, but Sept. 11 forced its cancellation. Through New York Cares, Grey sent busloads of workers to the park, where they spent the day cleaning, planting, raking and painting. The result: 150 park benches and the play ground area received fresh coats of paint, and Mark Fina, co-managing partner of Grey Global Group’s Ericsson Fina, designed and painted murals depicting kids skateboarding and playing basketball and hopscotch.

“I have never had a project where the company shows up early [9:30 instead of 10],” says New York Cares rep Jessica Sansone. “They were flexible, easy to work with. The great thing about working with Grey is that they really planned ahead in figuring out which people were appropriate for which tasks. This park really needed help.”