Crispus Attucks Playground
This playground is named for the first African American to be killed in the American War of Independence. It opened on October 28, 1934, along with two other playgrounds, one in Manhattan and one in the Bronx. The press release announcing the opening ceremonies explained that “All three playgrounds have recreation buildings and are fully equipped with play apparatus for children, and have space for basketball and handball courts. Each of the new playgrounds in Manhattan end Brooklyn will have a wading pool…” In addition to speeches, the opening ceremonies involved a “rendition of the Star Spangled Banner; games and dances by the children of the various playgrounds, and the actual opening of the play areas.”
Although these sources do not explicitly mention federal involvement in the park, federal funding for laborers, materials, architects, landscapers and engineers employed on Parks projects is acknowledged in about 350 press releases from 1934 to 1943. As researcher Frank da Cruz explains here, from these and further sources, it can be confidently stated that all New York City parks projects from 1934 to 1938 and almost all from 1939-1943 were completed in whole or in part with New Deal funding and/or labor.
Given the early date of this playground project, the CWA most likely played an important role in its development. (From 1935 on, the WPA became the primary agency involved in NYC park development). A December 1943 Parks Department press release summed up the massive amount of work accomplished on playgrounds alone with federal funding by the end of the New Deal era, saying, “In 1934 there were 119 playgrounds in the five boroughs, 67 of which have been reconstructed. There will be, with this new addition [of a playground on Brinckerhoff Avenue in Queens], 489 playgrounds in the park system.”
Department of Parks, Press Release, October 25, 1934 Crispus Attucks Playground - NYC Parks Department of Parks, Press Release, October 18, 1934
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on August 22, 2016.
We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.SUBMIT MORE INFORMATION OR PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THIS SITE