• Orchard Beach - Bronx NY
    Orchard Beach is an artificial beach 6,000 feet long on Pelham Bay in Pelham Bay Park on the east side of The Bronx, built by WPA workers under the direction of the New York City Parks Department. It required a major reconfiguration of the shoreline and sand imported from the Atlantic coast.  It included many auxillary improvements, most notably a large bathhouse behind the beach.  Researcher Frank da Cruz sums up New Deal involvement in developing the area based on multiple Parks Department press releases from the 1930s: "Orchard Beach  created by the federal Work Projects Administration (WPA) from a plan developed in...
  • Randall's Island Park - New York NY
    Randall's Island Park cover more than 400 acres of the 500+ acre island.  It contains dozens of tennis courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, playgrounds and other recreational facilities, as well as paths, greenways and a marsh.  Frank da Cruz summarizes the extensive New Deal renovation and expansion of Randall's Island Park: "Randall's Island itself, which (with neighboring Ward's Island, now joined to it) lies in the East River between East Harlem, the South Bronx, and Astoria, Queens... Prior to the New Deal it housed institutions such as an orphanage, a poor house, a reform school, a potters field, a refuge for sick and/or...
  • Floyd Bennett Field Improvements - Brooklyn NY
    Between 1934 and 1938 the WPA funded extensive construction and improvement projects at Floyd Bennett Airport. "Work completed by the WPA significantly modernized the airport facilities. By 1938, federal funds spent on airfield construction far outweighed funds contributed by New York City. During the four years the WPA worked on projects at Floyd Bennett Airport, the federal program spent approximately $4.7 million. During the same period, the city of New York contributed just over $339,000." (Cody) WPA projects in New York included "the laying of concrete runways and the erection of a machine shop at Floyd Bennett airport." Floyd Bennett Field...
  • Sunset Park Pool - Brooklyn NY
    The massive 259-foot-by-162-foot (3.5-foot-deep) outdoor pool in Sunset Park was one of 11 constructed with the help of the federal Work Projects Administration in New York City. "In the summer months, Sunset Park and its pool become home to swimmers and sun worshipers.  Designed in a neoclassical/Art Deco style, the pool first opened its waters to the public in 1936. It has since then offered to the Sunset Park community and visitors from all across New York City a range of recreational activities. Programs include Learn-to-Swim classes for all ages, free After School swimming instruction, and Adult Lap times.  The Brooklyn...
  • Hamilton Fish Park Pool - New York NY
    Hamilton Fish Park was first opened in 1900, featuring a gymnasium and playground. In 1936, it was thoroughly remodeled and the new WPA swimming pool (the first of eleven to open that summer) became the main attraction. A June 1936 press release announced the opening of the new pool, describing it and the other WPA pools in glowing terms: “Mayor LaGuardia, Park Commissioner Robert Moses and Works Progress Administrator Victor Ridder participated Wednesday in ceremonies in connection with the official opening of the Hamilton Fish Swimming Pool at East Houston and Sheriff Streets, on the lower east side of Manhattan. The...
  • Crotona Park Pool and Bathhouse - Bronx NY
    "This Olympic-size swimming pool and bathhouse complex opened on July 24, 1936. It was one of ten dedicated that year by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses (1888-1981). The project, funded by a special Works Progress Administration (WPA) grant of $10 million, featured a 925,000 gallon swimming pool, 39,000 gallon wading pool, 450,000 gallon diving pool and a bathhouse. The latter was designed by noted architect Aymar Embury II (1880-1966), and is an art deco interpretation of a French castle." This pool was one of many WPA projects in Crotona Park.
  • Astoria Park Pool - Astoria NY
    Astoria Park  pool opened on July 2, 1936. It was the largest of the eleven WPA pools built throughout the city that year. It was the site of the Olympic swimming and diving trials for the 1936 Olympics, just as Randall's Island Stadium was for track and field. "Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, an avid swimmer himself, recognized the importance of aquatic recreation and launched a campaign to open eleven new pools throughout the city during the summer of 1936. The labor and construction came from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), whose administrator Harry Hopkins described the pool in Queens as, 'The finest in the world.'...
  • Highbridge Park Pool - New York NY
    NYC Parks describes the WPA's role in developing the Highbridge Pool: "The Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center were built in 1936. The pool was the fifth of eleven city pools built with labor supplied by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA). It opened during the hot summer of 1936, leading Fortune magazine to dub 1936 “the swimming pool year.”" In July 1937, Parks announced the further completion of "a new brick building, with copper roof...   be used as a concession stand to serve spectators and bathers at the swimming pool."
  • McCarren Park Pool - Brooklyn NY
    The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation explains that: "McCarren Pool was the eighth of eleven giant pools built by the Works Progress Administration to open during the summer of 1936. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia attended the dedication on July 31, 1936. With an original capacity for 6800 swimmers, the pool served as the summertime social hub for Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The building’s vast scale and dramatic arches, designed by Aymar Embury II, typify the expansive and heroic spirit of New Deal architecture. The pool was closed in 1984 but in 2005 the site was resurrected as a performance space,...
  • Thomas Jefferson Park Swimming Pool - New York NY
    The WPA project in Jefferson Park "included the new pool complex, baseball diamonds, other athletic fields, playgrounds, and bocce courts." The pool opened on June 27, 1936. It was the second of 10 WPA pools to open that summer, and one of 11 WPA-pools to open in New York City (NYC Parks & Recreation).