Parks acquired what is now Marconi Park “on February 15, 1938, for the benefit of the adjacent P.S. 40 (William Wordsworth School) and the South Jamaica community. The playground opened on June 26, 1939, under the administration of Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia” (NYC Parks).
On June 30, 1939, the Department of Parks held official opening ceremonies for the park, attended by Mayor LaGuardia and Robert Moses among others. The press release announcing the opening described the work done on the site:
“South of the school, the one block square area developed to care for older children and adults has been provided with floodlights to afford recreation after dark for those who have to work during daylight hours. Besides 12 shuffleboard, 12 paddle tennis, 6 horseshoe pitching and 8 handball courts, it also contains a large bituminous surfaced play area which can be used not only for softball and other group games, but also can be flooded for ice skating when sub-freezing temperatures permit.
The entire area is enclosed by fencing and a planted area with shade trees. Numerous permanent benches have been placed throughout to provide rest for guardians of children and those seeking rest.”
Although these sources do not mention the WPA specifically, researcher Frank da Cruz explains here that almost all New York City Parks Department projects between 1934 and 1943 were carried out with New Deal funds and/or labor, and that after April 1935, the WPA quickly became the main source of this support.
Today’s NYC Parks website explains that “Until 1974, Parks and the Board of Education jointly operated the playground. Today, Parks operates this playground independently. Previously known as Marconi Memorial Field, Parks assigned the property’s present name in June 1987.”
The park was renovated in 1995.
NYC Parks - Marconi Park Department of Parks, Press Release, June 30, 1939 New York City Parks Department New Deal Projects 1934-43
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on November 24, 2016.
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