Lieutenant John H. Martinson Playground
Preston Ave. bet.ween Koch Blvd. and Osborne St.
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In 1997, Commissioner Stern changed this playground’s name from Koch Playground to Double Nickel Playground, a play on PS 55, the name of the neighboring school. The phrase “double nickel,” is also a colloquialism for the 55 miles-per-hour speed limit observed in much of the country; the “nickel” reference comes from the five cent worth of the coin.
Modern nickels contain 25% nickel and 75% copper, but the first five-cent piece, minted in 1793, was called the half-dime. It contained 1/20 the amount of silver in the nation’s standard silver dollar, and was proportionally sized. As a result, original five-cent coins, which were half the size of modern dimes, were too small for convenient handling. In 1866, mint officials finally increased the size of the five-cent piece and changed the content from silver and copper to nickel and copper. The coins soon became known as nickels.
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