Gorman playground at 84th St. and 25th Ave. in the East Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens was one of five “model playgrounds” designed as templates for further playground development by Robert Moses and his team after Moses assumed control of the New York City Parks Department in 1934. According to a Department press release announcing the opening, when Gorman Playground, then named “Jackson Heights Model Playground,” opened in 1934 it contained a:
“Recreation building containing a large play room, lavatories, mothers room, directors’ room and storage space. The rear wall of the recreation building will be used for 4 handball courts. The play area contains a wading pool which also can be used for two basketball courts; and a large game field, so graded that it can be flooded in the winter for ice skating. Around the game field is a double track; a cinder track on the inside is separated by a strip of planting from an outer concrete track 18 ft. wide for roller skating, with the banked curves. There is the usual apparatus for small children and a large seating area.”
The playground was constructed with labor and materials supplied through Work Relief funds. 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.
The playground is still in use, and was upgraded by the city in 1984 and 2000.
Department of Parks Press Release, July 27, 1934 Department of Parks Press Release, December 20, 1943 History of Recreation in Parks, www.nycgovparks.org Gorman Playground - www.nycgovparks.org
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on August 16, 2016.
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