The NYC Parks website explains the provenance of this modest playground in Queens: “Between 1935 and 1938, Parks leased this property from the Gorbess Realty Corporation. In April 1938, the City of New York purchased one parcel of the property for $10,450. A month later, the city acquired the second parcel through condemnation, and Parks assumed jurisdiction over both areas.”
During the same period, the land was developed by Parks with New Deal support. First, in September 1935, Parks announced the opening of a playground with “two handball courts and the usual children’s play facilities.” In 1942, after the park had passed into full public control, the WPA carried out a much more extensive development of the site:
“The old development consisted of a dirt surfaced area enclosed by 8 foot high chain link fencing, a few pieces of play apparatus and a handball court with wooden backstop. The reconstruction provided for resurfacing the playground with asphalt to provide for all year usage and setting the existing boundary fence on a special concrete curb varying in height up to three feet. The purpose of the new wall which extends around the playground was to permit the grading of level play surfaces. A single gate controlled stairway entrance provides access from 79th Street.
The project included the installation of new facilities and the relocation of existing facilities as follows:
- Brick comfort station
- Free play area
- Relocation of 2 practice basketball standards
- New double handball court enclosed by 16 foot high chain link fencing
- Kindergarten Apparatus Area
- Existing battery of swings protected by new 4 foot high chain link fencing
- Relocation of 4 seesaws
- One new slide
- School-Age Apparatus Area
- Relocation of a battery of swings protected by new 4 foot high chain link fencing
- Two new slides
- Relocation of pipe frame exercise unit
A five foot tree planted border of block paving extends around three sides of the playground along the new wall. The existing concrete boundary walks were widened and a border of block paving installed along the property line.
The work was performed by the Work Projects Administration from plans prepared by the Department of Parks. In 1934 there were 119 playgrounds in the five boroughs, 63 of which have been reconstructed. There are now 463 playgrounds in the park system.”
Department of Parks, Press Release, September 20, 1935 Department of Parks, Press Release, January 6, 1942 NYC Parks - Middle Village Playground
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on September 19, 2016.
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