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Lt. Federico Narvaez Tot Lot

Lt. Federico Narvaez Tot Lot

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This playground is named in memory of Police Lieutenant Federico Narvaez (1956-1996), who was born in Brooklyn and died in the vicinity of this Flatbush playground. Following his graduation from high school in Williamsburg, Narvaez studied business at Baruch College, where he met his wife, Marilyn. The two married in 1980 and had one child, Katrina. Appointed to the Police Department in 1979, Narvaez served at the 25th, 34th and 23rd Precincts before his promotion to Lieutenant in 1993. In addition, Narvaez had tours of duty with the Narcotics Division, the Warrant Division and the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Following his promotion to Lieutenant, Narvaez was stationed at the 63rd, 69th and 70th Precincts. On October 18, 1996, he was shot and killed while assisting a woman who told him she was being stalked. Twelve thousand police officers assembled solemnly in Queens five days after his death to salute the fallen hero, honoring him as a caring leader who loved his job and was dedicated to the safety of the community. The children of the Resurrection Ascension School in Queens also remembered him for the many hours he spent as their lunchroom monitor and for his weekly puppet shows. The Police Department’s highest award, the Medal of Honor, was posthumously given to Lt. Narvaez. He also received a posthumous Medal of Honor from the Michael John Buczek Foundation.

During his seventeen years in the Police Department, Lt. Narvaez earned many awards and honors, including one Meritorious Police Duty Citation, five Excellent Police Duty Citations and six Commendation Citations, in addition to a medal for physical fitness.

This playground, known as a Tot Lot because it is designed for younger children, was named for Lt. Narvaez by Local Law 89 of 1997. The playground was formerly known as the Argyle Tot Lot, due to its location at the intersection of Argyle and Cortelyou Roads. Known until 1904 as East Thirteenth Street, Argyle is named for a Scottish word that indicates a diamond-shaped pattern, such as one sees on socks.

Purchased by the city in 1986 in a residential open space sale, the Tot Lot became parkland in 1993. In 1996, Borough President Howard Golden sponsored a $455,000 renovation to the playground. New tot play equipment, fencing, benches, sidewalks and safety surfacing were installed, and security lighting was added. Soaring London Plane trees, known for their ability to survive in harsh urban environments, provide welcome shade. Due to the enduring popularity of London Planes, Parks uses the silhouette of its leaf as its official insignia.

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    • Tue
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