Playground of the AmericasPhoto: Frank da Cruz © All Rights Reserved
Playground of the Americas was built circa 1935 with the help of the New Deal. The agency involved in funding or completing the work is unknown to the Living New Deal. During his tenure as Parks Commissioner, Robert Moses used New Deal funding and labor to build public park facilities, yet rarely credited the New Deal agencies that supported the projects. Because he prohibited the placement of New Deal plaques and corner stones, we have few sources that tie public parks in New York to New Deal agencies. However, several of Moses’ statements reveal that during the 1930s, most of the financial support and labor for New York parks and Parks Department staff came from federal funding. For a detailed discussion see, Frank da Cruz, Kermit Project, New Deal Assistance in NYC Parks Department Projects, 1934-43.
The NYC Parks Department describes the origins of the park: “In 1925, the City of New York acquired this property and transferred it to the Department of Transportation as part of a Sixth Avenue renovation. The Board of Estimate placed the parcel under Parks jurisdiction in May 1934. It remained unnamed until February 1998, when Parks designated it Houston Plaza. In 2000, it was renamed Playground of the Americas.”
Playground of the Americas, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, (https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/playground-of-the-americas), accessed May 13, 2018.
Kermit Project, New Deal Assistance in NYC Parks Department Projects, 1934-43 (http://kermitproject.org/newdeal/parksprojects.html#commentary), accessed May 9, 2018.
Kermit Project, New Deal sites in the Washington Square area of Manhattan, (http://kermitproject.org/newdeal/washingtonsquare/index.html), accessed May 9, 2018.
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on May 13, 2018.