Downing Street PlaygroundPhoto: Frank da Cruz © All Rights Reserved
The Downing Street Playground was built circa 1935 with the help of the New Deal. The agency involved in funding or completing the work is unknown to the Living New Deal. During his tenure as Parks Commissioner, Robert Moses used New Deal funding and labor to build public park facilities, yet rarely credited the New Deal agencies that supported the projects. Because he prohibited the placement of New Deal plaques and corner stones, we have few sources that tie public parks in New York to New Deal agencies. However, several of Moses’ statements reveal that during the 1930s most of the financial support and labor for New York parks and Parks Department staff came from federal funding. For a detailed discussion see, Frank da Cruz, Kermit Project, New Deal Assistance in NYC Parks Department Projects, 1934-43.
The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation describes the origins of the park: “The site was assigned to Parks in 1924 and developed as a children’s playground with slides, seesaws, flagpole and portable shower in the mid-1930s.”
Downing Street Playground, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, (https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/downing-street-playground), accessed May 13, 2018.
Kermit Project, New Deal Assistance in NYC Parks Department Projects, 1934-43 (http://kermitproject.org/newdeal/parksprojects.html#commentary), accessed May 9, 2018.
Kermit Project, New Deal sites in the Washington Square area of Manhattan, (http://kermitproject.org/newdeal/washingtonsquare/index.html), accessed May 9, 2018.
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on May 13, 2018.