This playground, located in Queens on the Rockaway peninsula, is named for nearby Almeda Avenue. This area has had a long and interesting history. Originally spotted by Henry Hudson in 1609, the area served as home to a small tribe of Canarsie Indians. The name Rockaway was probably derived from the Delaware or Chippewa Native American language expression for sandy place, which was interpreted as ‘Rockaway’ by the European colonizers of the 17th Century.
The land was owned by a number of prominent families, most notably the Cornell family. After a partition suit divided the plot in 1808, the parcels were sold to outsiders, notably the Rockaway Association, which began to build exclusive resorts in 1833. During the 1890s, a variety of amusement parks were built, rivaling the popular Coney Island area for weekend and summer getaways. In 1898, the Village of Rockaway Park was incorporated into New York City.
Beaches, such as Jacob Riis Park, draw huge crowds during the summer months as people look to escape the heat and relax in the sun. In an effort to make Rockaway more accessible to people from all over New York, many access options were created beginning in 1925 with the completion of the Cross Bay Bridge. Marine Parkway followed in 1937, and 1941 saw the improvement of the subway system in the area. Since the end of World War II (1939-1945), the area has become a largely residential community.
Originally named P.S. 42 Playground, the playground was opened in 1965, and renamed by Parks in 1985. Located on Beach 65th and Beach 66th Streets, Beach Channel Drive, and Thursby Avenue, the playground serves as an excellent play space for the school children of P.S. 42. The playground includes benches, a flagpole with a yardarm, and London planetrees (Platanus x acerifolia) lining the perimeter. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani provided $225,910 in 1999, for the playground’s play equipment and $55,745 for site repairs to the area. Additional play areas include a spray shower; three full basketball courts, two handball courts, swings, and a large asphalt field.