Payson Playground Brick Structure
Payson Playground, in the Southeast corner of Inwood Hill Park, is one of three playgrounds in the park. The current Department of Parks website says the playground was built by Robert Moses in 1939, but Parks Department press releases from the New Deal period show that the park was originally built in 1934 and completed in 1941. A 1934 press release announced the opening of the playground in August of that year. The release describes the new playground as containing a “Field house, comfort station, play area, basketball courts and the usual playground equipment for children.” The labor and materials for this were provided through “Work Relief funds” – at that time, most likely in part by the CWA.
The 1941 press release announced the completion of further improvements to this same playground, adjacent to comfort station and field house that had already been built. The 1941 improvements included repairing equipment; installing see-saws, swings and a sand pit for small children; the erection of a new flagpole, a fence enclosing the area and a second comfort station; the planting of new trees and flowers; and the construction up the hill from the playground of a new pedestrian overlook with views of the Hudson River. All of this work was “was performed by the Work Projects Administration from plans prepared by the Department of Parks.” That release concluded by noting the vast improvements New Deal programs had brought to New York parks: “In 1934 there were 119 playgrounds in the five boroughs; 54 of these have been reconstructed. At the present time there are 423 playgrounds in the Park system.”
The playground was renovated in 1994 and continues to serve as an enjoyable play area within the beauty of Inwood Hill Park.
Department of Parks, Press Release, June 14, 1941 Department of Parks, Press Release, July 27, 1934 Inwood Hill Park - nycgovparks.org New York City Parks Department New Deal Projects 1934-43
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on August 13, 2016.
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