Corlears Hook Park
Corlears Hook Park is located on the Lower East Side across FDR Drive from the East River. The park was completed in 1905. In 1934, the Department of Parks announced the opening of a new playground in the park constructed with labor and materials supplied by Work Relief funds: “An open shelter is to be erected. There are four handball, four horse-shoe pitching, one volley ball, two basketball and shuffle board courts. This area, which adjoins a lodging house with accommodation for 1800 men, has been planned to provide recreation for the unusually large number of men residing in this particular district.”
Given the early date, this most likely included CWA funds, as researcher Frank da Cruz explains here. This was one of the first in what would eventually be 370 new playgrounds in New York constructed by New Deal agencies. Federal funding for laborers, materials, architects, landscapers and engineers employed on Parks projects is acknowledged in about 350 press releases from 1934 to 1943. Almost all New York City Parks Department projects in that period were accomplished with New Deal funds and/or labor. After 1935, the WPA was the most important agency involved.
It is unclear, however, whether Corlears Hook Playground is still extant. Today’s NYC Parks website explains: “By the late 1930s, the park’s broad, tree-lined promenade held a comfort station, playground, and baseball diamond, but, when the city began developing the East River’s shoreline in tandem with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s (1882-1945) Depression-era Works Progress Administration, Corlears Hook Park was reduced in size.” Today, the Park contains playgrounds and ball fields. Confirmation is needed on whether and which of these facilities were the ones constructed by the New Deal.
Department of Parks Press Release, July 27, 1934 Department of Parks Press Release, December 20, 1943 Corlears Hook Park - www.nycgovparks.org
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on August 15, 2016.
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