This park, is named for Frank Frontera (1858–1952), an immigrant who realized the American dream in the community of Maspeth. Frontera emigrated from Italy and settled in Maspeth with his wife and infant son in 1883. An active member of the community, Frontera served in the Volunteer Fire Department until the age of 91. The owner of a barber shop, Frontera instilled a strong work ethic in his children, and his son Alexander founded the Maspeth Federal Savings and Loan Association.
The park site located within the block bounded by Grand Avenue, Brown Place, 58th Avenue and 69th Sreet, was originally the home of the Maspeth Bus Garage, which serviced New York Transit Authority vehicles. After the Transit Authority ceased to use the facility, it surrendered the parcel to the City in 1955. Arguing that the neighborhood lacked suitable recreation opportunities, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses (1888-1981) requested that the parcel be assigned to Parks. To facilitate the playground’s construction, Moses offered the services of the Bridge and Tunnel Authority, which could build the playground in conjunction with work on the Long Island Expressway, an offer made simple by the fact that he was the head of both organizations. The original $150,000 plan called for a children’s playground, basketball and handball courts, and a sitting area.
After his death, local community leaders sought a way to honor both Frank and Alex Frontera, each of whom made great impacts on the community. In 1958, the City Council named this park for Frank Frontera. In 1990 the park was renovated at a cost of $649,000, adding new play equipment, landscaping, safety surfacing, water sprinklers, lights, and exercise units.
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