Taaffe Playground Today
This park in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn was built by the Department of Parks in 1934. The press release announcing its opening described the facilities as including “a general girls’ play field a boys’ play field, a wading pool, basketball court, and an area for outdoor playground apparatus. Handball courts are also provided for boys. A brick recreation building with toilet facilities and indoor playrooms is being constructed.” The NYC Parks site also says that several Pin oaks were planted “in the hope that they might provide much needed areas of shade in the future.”
Although these sources do not explicitly mention federal involvement in the park, federal funding for laborers, materials, architects, landscapers and engineers employed on Parks projects is acknowledged in about 350 press releases from 1934 to 1943. As researcher Frank da Cruz explains here, from these and further sources, it can be confidently stated that all New York City parks projects from 1934 to 1938 and almost all from 1939-1943 were completed in whole or in part with New Deal funding and/or labor.
Given the early date of this playground project, the CWA most likely played an important role in its development. (From 1935 on, the WPA became the primary agency involved in NYC park development). A December 1943 Parks Department press release summed up the massive amount of work accomplished on playgrounds alone with federal funding by the end of the New Deal era, saying, “In 1934 there were 119 playgrounds in the five boroughs, 67 of which have been reconstructed. There will be, with this new addition [of a playground on Brinckerhoff Avenue in Queens], 489 playgrounds in the park system.”
The playground was repaired in the late 1990s.
Department of Parks, Press Release, October 18, 1934 Taaffe Playground - NYC Parks New York City Parks Department New Deal Projects 1934-43
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on August 22, 2016.
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