Lion's Pride Playground, New Play Structure
The Department of Parks announced the opening of this playground on August 30, 1935 and noted that it contained a wading pool and playground apparatus. Although federal involvement is not explicitly mentioned, 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 other 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 date of this park, four months after the WPA began operating, it was likely completed with help from that agency, but may have been started under another.
The NYC Parks website explains that the site took on the Lion theme and name only recently: “Lion’s Pride Playground, acquired by the City of New York in 1929, was named RSVP by Parks in 1997, as an abbreviation for Riverdale, Snediker, and Van Sinderen Playground. Parks renamed the playground in 1998, when a $760,000 series of renovations funded by Mayor Giuliani began. The reconstruction, finished in 1999, gave the playground a lion theme: yellow play equipment evokes the lion’s golden mane while a lion water basin adds to the atmosphere. A new drinking fountain, tot swings, spray showers, benches, and a yardarm flagpole make Lion’s Pride Playground a welcome recreational oasis in the midst of a busy neighborhood”
New York City Parks Department New Deal Projects 1934-43 Department of Parks, Press Release, August 30, 1935
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on September 15, 2016.
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