Marine Park is the largest public park in Brooklyn. It surrounds the westernmost inlet of Jamaica Bay. The City acquired the first parcels of land in Marine Park in the 1920s and expanded the area in the 1930s. This park was extensively developed by New Deal labor and funding.
A July 30, 1936 Department of Parks press release announced the opening of new facilities at the Marine Park, including immediately “three baseball diamonds, two football and soccer fields and one-half of the oval-shaped bicycle and roller skating track.” To be constructed in total were “ten baseball diamonds, four football and soccer fields, tennis courts, separate completely equipped boys’ and girls’ playgrounds and a large parking area.” In October of the same year, the Department of Parks announced the soon to be completed addition of a “completely equipped small children’s playground, with wading pool and a large soft ball area and basket ball, shuffle board, paddle tennis, horse-shoe and hand-ball courts for older children.” Most of these facilities were completed by December. Although these releases do not explicitly mention New Deal support, researcher Frank da Cruz explains here that all New York City parks projects from 1934 to 1938 were completed in whole or in part with New Deal funding and/or labor, except in the rare cases where the Parks Department information explicitly says otherwise.
A few years later, in May 1939, the Department of Parks held a ceremony unveiling a plaque “in honor of Frederick B. Pratt and Alfred T. White who assembled and donated land for the development of Marine Park.” Mayor LaGuardia was one of the speakers at the ceremony, which was presided over by Robert Moses. The exercises marked “the completion of a large modern recreation area in a rapidly growing community. The improvement includes playgrounds for children of all ages, and tennis, handball, croquet, horseshoe, basketball courts and bicycle track, as well as baseball and football fields for adults.” The work was “planned by the Park Department and constructed by the Works Progress Administration.”
Finally, in 1941, the Department of Parks announced the completion of the development of Plum (or Plumb) Island, which was a part of Marine Park at the time.
New York City Parks Department New Deal Projects 1934-43 Department of Parks Press Releases: July 30, 1936; October 1, 1936; December 4, 1936; December 30, 1936; May 26, 1939; August 4, 1941
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on August 19, 2016.
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