Randall’s Island Park – New York NY


Randall’s Island Park cover more than 400 acres of the 500+ acre island.  It contains dozens of tennis courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, playgrounds and other recreational facilities, as well as paths, greenways and a marsh.  Frank da Cruz summarizes the extensive New Deal renovation and expansion of Randall’s Island Park:

“Randall’s Island itself, which (with neighboring Ward’s Island, now joined to it) lies in the East River between East Harlem, the South Bronx, and Astoria, Queens… Prior to the New Deal it housed institutions such as an orphanage, a poor house, a reform school, a potters field, a refuge for sick and/or destitute immigrants, a mental hospital, and a home for Civil War veterans. A massive amount of work was done to demolish these buildings, relocate people, landscape the island, and build ballfields, tennis courts, playgrounds, paths, and roads, plus ramps connecting to Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. See this Parks Department press release to get an idea of the scale of this project. The work was performed by the Triborough Bridge Authority and the Department of Parks. As noted here, the TBA was funded by the New Deal Public Works Administration (PWA), and as noted here the Parks Department was overwhelmingly staffed by federal relief workers during this period so any Parks Department project in the 1934-38 period qualifies also as a New Deal project.”   (https://kermitproject.org)

Though the Parks Department releases mention numerous recreational and athletic facilities, no specific sites within the park are identified. One press release describes a playground situated “in the shadow of the Triborough Bridge, west of the new cafeteria building.”  A 1938 release noted that the park would soon contain, besides the Stadium, “a fully equipped children’s playground, basketball and shuffleboard courts, 8 baseball diamonds and 27 tennis courts…” Another release in 1939 specifically identifies the Works Progress Administration as constructing the tennis courts.

The rest of Randall’s and Ward’s island are home to psychiatric hospitals, state police station, fire academy, wastewater treatment plant, and homeless shelters.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Randall's Island
New York, NY

Coordinates: 40.7932271, -73.9212857

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