Queensbridge Park and Queensborough Bridge
Parks acquired this land to the West and the South of the WPA’s Queensbridge Housing development in 1939. The press release announcing the completion of a WPA playground on the site in July 1941 explained:
“The southerly section lying alongside and under the bridge structure has been developed for specialized intensive forms of recreation adapted to the needs of various age groups. Central to this section is a new comfort station located on the line of 10 Street and surrounded by play apparatus for small children: sand pit, wading pool, swings, etc., and extending to the east a series of game areas for older patrons: volleyball, basketball and handball courts. The area westward to Vernon Boulevard has been left open for general play purposes such as softball and group games. Flanking the entire development on the north, as a transition between the park area and the housing grounds, is a thirty-foot wide mall bordered by trees and benches. Trees have also been planted within the playground to furnish shade and to mark the separations between the various use areas.
The waterfront development, a plot of thirteen acres on the west side of Vernon Boulevard and north of the Queensborough Bridge, has more the character of a neighborhood park although it too is largely devoted to active forms of recreation. The path system encloses an oval field large enough to accommodate football and four softball diamonds. A smaller oval lawn contains an inner paved roadway for use as a bicycle and roller skating area. A small children’s playground is tucked into the northeast corner on Vernon Avenue. The river front itself has been provided with a new seawall backed by a broad promenade plentifully supplied with benches overlooking the river and the Manhattan skyline. At the south end of the park, under the north parapet of the bridge is a modern concession building. South of this building and under the bridge structure is space allocated for a future bank of fourteen tennis courts. The various areas outlined by the walk systems have been graded, topsoiled and seeded to lawn or planted with trees and shrubs.
Before the area under the bridge can be opened to the public, the Department of Public Works must erect “pans” under the bridge to protect people in the area from objects falling off the structure.
Plans for the entire development were prepared by the Design Division of the Department of Parks, and the work was performed by the Work Projects Administration.”
Some of the park area has since been turned into parking lots, but most of it remains. Further improvements to the park were made in the 1990s and 2000s.
Department of Parks, Press Release, July 21, 1941 NYC Parks - Queensbridge Park New York City Parks Department New Deal Projects 1934-43
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on December 11, 2016.
We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.SUBMIT MORE INFORMATION OR PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THIS SITE