Thomas Greene Playground
When the Department of Parks first developed a playground at Degraw and 3rd Ave. in 1935, it was leasing the property from a private owner. A press release announced the 1935 opening along with the opening of six other playgrounds, one of which was attended by WPA administrator Harry Hopkins.
The City of New York formally acquired the property in 1938 and soon opened a larger, more developed playground on the site “occupying the entire block bounded by Douglass Street, DeGraw Street, Nevins Street and Third Avenue.” The press release announcing the opening on October 8, 1939 explained:
“This playground, planned to accommodate all age groups, provides the younger children with a wading pool and apparatus including swings, slides, see-saws, and a jungle gym, A portion of the area is set aside for roller skating and is so designed that it can be flooded in cold weather and used for ice skating. Accommodations for older children include a soft ball diamond, two basketball courts and eight concrete handball courts. A comfort station is also provided. Bordering the entire area is a new sidewalk with a double row of trees in addition to those along the fence lines within the playground area, amounting to about 125 in all.”
While the second press release does not mention the WPA, researcher Frank da Cruz explains here that almost all New York City Parks Department projects between 1934 and 1943 were accomplished with New Deal funds and/or labor; from April 1935 on, the WPA became the main source of this support.
Thomas Greene Playground was originally known as Double D Playground, due to its location between DeGraw and Douglass Streets. In 1988, it was renamed in honor of local community leader Thomas Greene. The playground was partly redeveloped in the 1990s.
New York City Parks Department New Deal Projects 1934-43 Department of Parks, Press Release, November 21, 1935 Department of Parks, Press Release, October 8, 1939 NYC Parks - Thomas Greene Playground
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on September 21, 2016.
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