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Lieutenant John H. Martinson Playground

Preston Ave. bet. Koch Blvd. and Osborne St.

Staten Island

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

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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Lieutenant John H. Martinson Playground

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