The sign on this park says Josephine Caminiti Playground. The NYC Parks website also refers to it as Alstyne Playground and notes that it was formerly known as Corona Playground. The land for this park was purchased by the City in 1930. The press release announcing its opening in October 1934 described the new facilities:
“A new playground for small children will be opened at Corona Avenue and 102nd Street in the Borough of Queens. The area includes a recreational building [and an] outdoor play apparatus. A unique feature of this playground is its oval, concrete surfaced roller skating rink around the play field.”
NYC Parks further notes that it contained “a comfort station complete with mother’s room, director’s room, and an indoor playroom, which enabled children to enjoy the park even in inclement weather.” In the late 1990s, the park underwent “extensive renovations.”
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 8, 1934 Josephine Caminiti Playground - NYC Parks
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on August 30, 2016.
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