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Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Mauro Playground

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

This playground honors Albert Mauro (1911-1982), a spirited Kew Gardens Hills environmentalist, and civil rights and community activist.

Born on March 13, 1911 in New York City, Mauro grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and returned to New York City for high school. Attending New York University night school for eight years, he earned an English degree, and went on to serve in the Philippines and New Guinea as an Army Sergeant during World War II. Mauro acted as an interpreter and an insurance specialist in reparations while in the Pacific, and at the end of the war he returned to New York to settle in Kew Gardens Hills with his wife, Ruth. He and Ruth had three children, Thomas, Richard, and Jacqueline.

While working for Hartford Insurance as an insurance adjuster, Mauro became involved with the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. He demonstrated throughout the South and attended the 1963 March on Washington. Mauro also joined the Sierra Club and Audubon Society, and took on many local environmental issues, including those involving his community and parks. He exposed the sludge problem in the Flushing Bay with organized walking tours and fought against the 1972 plan for installation of a nuclear reactor in the World’s Fair Science Building. He also formed an action committee to preserve Willow Lake in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. His efforts were successful; the New York State Department of Environmental Protection designated Willow Lake as a protected wetland on November 10, 1976. Albert Mauro died on December 7, 1982.

Mauro Playground, located at 73 Terrace between Park Drive East and the Van Wyck Expressway, is situated near the 47-acre Willow Lake, one of the last natural refuges in New York City. Council Member Morton Povman introduced a bill to name this playground for Albert Mauro, and dedicated it on June 24, 1984. Mauro Playground is composed of two fenced sections, one featuring basketball courts, handball courts, benches, game tables, a drinking fountain, and play equipment with safety surfacing. The second section holds a flagpole with a yardarm, a spray basin, benches, play equipment with safety surfacing, swings for tots and kids, and a comfort station. The playground also features access to a pedestrian bridge to the Willow Lake Natural Area that Mauro fought so hard to protect.

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