This small sitting park was originally named after Anthony Leo Placella, a native of Long Island City who died in World War I. Placella grew up at 64 Ridge Street, and served in Company F of the 4th Infantry of the United States Army. Placella died of broncho-pneumonia abroad on October 16, 1918, twenty-six days before Armistice and the end of the war.
The City acquired the land that is now Sixteen Oaks Park during street acquisition proceedings by condemnation in two parcels on October 10, 1913 and July 28, 1932. On February 16, 1939, the land was conveyed to Parks and, by order of local law, the park was renamed to honor Leo Placella. Parks has since named it Sixteen Oaks Park, because the small traffic median is dominated by sixteen oak trees, and eight sitting benches.