Harry Maze Playground
Harry Maze Playground
This playground is named for Harry Maze (1902-1971), a lawyer and active Brooklyn politician who served the 23rd City Council district from 1966-1969.
During his tenure as a City Council Member, Maze sponsored a bill to build a tunnel from the base of Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, to Johnston Avenue in Jersey City, New Jersey. The plans, however, never came to fruition. In addition to his time serving on the City Council, Maze worked as an assistant district attorney for Kings County from 1947-1963. From 1963 to 1964 he worked as an assistant deputy comptroller, and served as law secretary to Comptroller (and later Mayor) Abraham D. Beame, until July 1971. During his life, Maze spent time as a secretary to a State Supreme Court Justice, presided over the Winthrop Community Club, was installed as vice-president of the Humanity Club, and sat on the Board of Trustees of the Congregation of Shaari Israel.
The playground that bears Maze’s name is located in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, which was once merely land within the boundaries of the Dutch towns of Flatbush and Flatlands. Farmland dominated the area until the 1920s when the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (I.R.T.) linked it to Manhattan. Small neighborhoods named Remsen Village, Rugby, Wingate, Farragut, and Erasmus developed as a result of the new transportation link. By the end of the 20th century, however, those names faded away, and East Flatbush emerged as the larger neighborhood.
Harry Maze Playground is located in what was once called Farragut. Named for Admiral David G. Farragut (1801-1870), a Mexican and Civil War veteran, the Farragut neighborhood developed in the 1920s. Jewish and Italian-American families occupied the area’s two family houses until the 1950s, when apartment buildings were built. Beginning in the 1960s and continuing through the 1980s, the population of East Flatbush shifted from Jewish and Italian-American to Caribbean-American. Caribbean culture permeates the area with many bakeries, restaurants, and street vendors.
A local law in 1973 named this playground, located on Avenue D between East 56th and East 57th Streets, for Harry Maze. The playground contains many benches, three drinking fountains, and a flagpole with a yardarm. Chain-link fencing bounds the park, and it is paved with asphalt. The playground includes red, yellow, and green timber form and pipe, play equipment, handball and basketball courts, swing sets, and a large asphalt play area with a painted baseball diamond and backstop. Many trees, among them pin oak (Quercus palustris) and London planetrees (Platanus x acerifolia), beautify the area.