The land for the Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto Park, known more commonly as the Smokey Oval Park, was acquired by the city in 1938. On October 31, 1939, the Department of Parks officially celebrated the opening of the park with a ceremony attended by Mayor La Guardia, Borough President George U. Harvey, Work Projects Administrator of New York City Brehon Somervell, and Park Commissioner Robert Moses. The press release announcing the opening explained:
“the new 4.3 acre playground contains a separate children’s area with wading pool, slides, see-saws and jungle gym, as well as kindergarten apparatus and sand pit for children of pre-school age. The balance of the area provides six shuffleboard, one basketball and six handball courts, two baseball diamonds, a football field, a soccer field with turfed surface and a roller skating track which, when sub-freezing temperature permits, may be flooded for ice skating. There is also a brick comfort station.”
The park was “designed by the Department of Parks and built for the Park Department by the Work Projects Administration.”
Adjoining ballfields on Atlantic Ave. were incorporated into the park in 1988.
Department of Parks, Press Release, October 31, 1939 NYC Parks - Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto Park New York City Parks Department New Deal Projects 1934-43
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on November 25, 2016.
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