Greencroft Playground takes its name from its southwestern border, Greencroft Street. The word green-croft is a pastoral term. A croft is a Dutch word for family farm, kitchen garden, or a very small pasture. The playground is also bounded by Ainsworth Avenue, Redgrave Street and P.S. 53, the Bay Terrace School. These streets were laid out in the neighborhood of Bay Terrace in the mid-20th century. Presumably the developers wished to give the newly suburban streets appealing names, reminiscent of the area’s farming past.
Parks and the Board of Education jointly operate Greencroft Playground. It was selected for park and recreation purposes by the Site Selection Board of New York City in June of 1963. Development, at a cost of approximately $267,300, began in February of 1970, and the playground opened in December of that year. The large space allowed for many features, including a junior baseball diamond, a basketball court, a comfort station, children’s adventure-style play area, grassy slopes, and a grove sitting area.
In 1996, Greencroft Playground was chosen by Parks Borough Commissioner Thomas A. Paulo as one of two Staten Island sites to share a $55,000 City Parks Foundation grant. The funds were part of the ‘Playgrounds ’96’ project, a citywide effort to upgrade the neediest playgrounds in the five boroughs. Neither Greencroft nor Liotti Ikefugi Playground in New Brighton, the other Staten Island grant recipient, had been renovated in 30 years.
With safety surfacing installed, the basketball courts restored, and the old wooden playground equipment replaced by new modular structures, the refurbished Greencroft Playground is a safe, well-kept, and varied space, providing recreation opportunities to all ages and interests.