Dreier Offerman Park, 2011custom caption
Now a part of the much larger Calvert Vaux Park (also still referred to as Dreier-Offerman Park), this smaller playground at Cropsey Ave. and Bay 46th St. was constructed by the Department of Parks in 1934. Mayor La Guardia attended the opening ceremony in November 1934. The press release announcing the opening described the new playground as having “a wading pool and a two-story brick field house. The sand tables, seesaws, slides and swings for small children are located on the Bay side of the building. Apparatus for older children is located in the space adjoining Cropsey Avenue.” This playground still exists. The entire, larger park was recently restored in a $40 million project.
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. 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.”
Given the early date of this playground project, the CWA most likely played an important role in its development.
New York City Parks Department New Deal Projects 1934-43 Department of Parks, Press Release, November 8, 1934
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on August 31, 2016.
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In The Power Broker, Robert Caro writes that in the case of The Dreier-Offerman, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses joined two philanthropic families with insufficient resources to buy and equip a playground completely to create the original park in 1934. (Page 378)