This playground just across from the East River between 103rd and 104th Streets, was developed in relation to the adjacent East River Housing development with the cooperation of the Department of Parks and the NYC Housing Authority to serve both the residents of the public housing development and the rest of the neighborhood.
In November 1942, Parks announced the completion of the new playground:
“The Housing Authority constructed a low granite wall around three sides of the proposed play area providing three entrance points. A seven foot wrought iron picket fence with gates has been set in a concrete foundation just inside the existing granite wall and along the last River Drive sidewalk. A 40 foot wide strip running east and west through the middle of the playground has been paved with concrete but will be reserved, clear of obstruction, for a future ramp approach to the proposed Wards Island footbridge. A comfort station will be built in the playground under this approach.
The north half of the playground contains a concrete wading pool, irrigated sand pit, sitting area, seesaws, slides, a battery of chair swings; pipe frame exercise unit and a battery of swings.
The south end has been provided with court games including: basketball, shuffleboard and paddle tennis courts.
The improvement which was constructed by the Work Projects Administration from plans prepared by the Department of Parks also included a drinking fountain, tool storage building, flag pole, drainage, irrigation and lighting. In 1934 there were 119 playgrounds in the five boroughs, 66 of which have been reconstructed. There are now with this new addition 485 playgrounds in the park system.”
The playground is still in active use. Today’s Parks website writes that “The hopscotch court, probably painted by W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration) workers during the Great Depression (1929-1941) is still used for hopscotch games.”
Department of Parks, Press Release, November 27, 1942 NYC Parks - Playground 103 CIII New York City Parks Department New Deal Projects 1934-43
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on December 29, 2016.
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