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Ten Eyck Playground

Ten Eyck Playground

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

This playground is name for Coenradt Ten Eyck (1617-1686), but unfortunately, historians have only been able to make a rough sketch of his life’s story. He was born in 1617 in Moers, Germany, to Wilhelm Ten Eyck (1590?-1645?) and Michel Puitzen (1592-1623?). He married Maria Boele (1622-?), in Amsterdam, Netherlands in June 1645. The marriage intention, dated May 12, 1645, indicates that he worked as a shoemaker’s helper. In approximately 1651, they immigrated to New Amsterdam.

The next clue to be discovered about Ten Eyck indicates that he had remarried His second wife’s was named Antje (1629-?). Ten Eyck worked as a tanner and shoemaker near his home, which was located on his sizeable property on what is now Coenties Slip. A corruption of the Dutch nickname Coentje, meaning “Coenradt’s and Antje’s.” The boat slip was then located on the southeastern shoreline of Manhattan, but--because of 1835 landfills—was moved to two blocks from South Street and the East River. By 1674, Ten Eyck had accumulated $5,000, a fortune for that time. He died on April 5, 1686. His many descendants settled in various sections of the New York area including the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, where Ten Eyck Playground is located.

Williamsburg was once part of the Dutch town of Boswijck (or Bushwick). In 1802, Richard Woodhull, who wanted to create a residential suburb of Manhattan, began a ferry service from today’s Metropolitan Avenue in Brooklyn to Corlear’s Hook across the East River. In 1810, he purchased 13 acres of land surrounding the ferry and named the area Williamsburgh after Colonel Jonathan Williams (1750-1815), the original surveyor of the site. Woodhull went bankrupt one year later, but Williamsburgh remained. For much of the early 19th century, it was a rural farming community along the East River. In 1818, entrepreneur David Dunham (c. 1790) launched a steam ferry service to Manhattan from Williamsburgh, which created an increase in growth of the area.

In 1828, Williamsburgh was incorporated as the Village of Williamsburgh. In the following decades, industry flocked to the waterfront, and Williamsburgh became so large that, in 1852, it was chartered as a city. Three years later, the City of Brooklyn annexed Williamsburg, dropping the final “h” from the name. Williamsburg soon became a fashionable suburb for wealthy professionals and industrialists from Brooklyn and Manhattan. Among the prominent inhabitants were members of the Ten Eyck family, and on November 29, 1869 Wyckoff Street in Williamsburg was renamed Ten Eyck Street. With the rest of Brooklyn, Williamsburg became part of New York City after the consolidation of the boroughs in 1898.

After the 1908 opening of the Williamsburg Bridge, the neighborhood’s population soared. The bridge allowed Eastern European immigrants -- including Lithuanian, Polish, Italian, and Russian Orthodox newcomers -- to leave the crowded Lower East Side of Manhattan for the greater expansiveness of Brooklyn. In order to accommodate the many new residents, the six-story tenements now so prevalent in Williamsburg were built, and many pre-existing brownstone and wood-frame houses were quickly turned into multiple dwellings. By 1917, Williamsburg’s population had more than doubled.

The City of New York acquired this site, bounded by Meserole Street, Scholes Street, and Bushwick Avenue, through condemnation for school purposes in 1956. In 1959, Parks and the Board of Education agreed to create a jointly operated playground on the site. One portion of the property was allotted to the school, P.S. 196, known as the Ten Eyck School, and Parks developed Ten Eyck Playground on the remaining land. The playground offers play equipment with safety surfacing and handball courts. Borough President Howard Golden allocated $254,065 in 1998 for sitework.

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  • Mon
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