There was a mix of amusement and unhappiness when four benches dedicated to social issues, which were painted by middle school children from other parts of Queens, showed up in Juniper Valley Park. Parkgoers who gave a thumbs down said they visit our parks to engage in recreation and relax, not immerse themselves in messages about the problems of the world. Those who favored the display thought the benches were creative and thoughtful. However you feel about them, it was a bit ironic that the art display benches were placed next to the visibly worn permanent benches which likely haven’t been painted in years. Schools used to engage in community service projects to fix blight like this, but they seem to have changed their focus. Since the Parks Department actually receives funding to make repairs, they need to get on this, pronto.