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Forest Park

DeVoy Playground

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

Joseph E. DeVoy (1926-2000) was an active member of the Forest Hills community. Born on January 4, 1926 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, he graduated from St. John’s University in 1948. DeVoy married Doris Sullivan in 1954, and the couple moved to Kew Gardens Hills, Queens. Six years later, they moved to Forest Hills and raised their two children, Kathleen and Chris.

During the 1960s, DeVoy became a Cubmaster in Our Lady of Mercy Boy Scout Troop 349. He served as president of the Forest Hills Community and Civic Association from 1961 to 1997 and as the first chairman of Community Board 9, which became Community Board 6 in 1963. DeVoy co-founded the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps in 1971. He also functioned as the co-chairman of the Federation of Civic Councils of Queens County, president of the Central Queens Allied Council, secretary of the Central Queens Historical Society, and was a member of the Bell Atlantic Community Advisory Council.

As a community activist, DeVoy helped shape a neighborhood housing project into a co-op, allowing tenants to buy their apartments. He was president of the Remsen Park Coalition, and advocated the designation of Remsen Park as a New York City historical landmark. He was also instrumental in securing funds for the completion of the North Forest Hills Branch of the Queens Borough Public Library during the City’s fiscal crisis. DeVoy worked as a manager in the Universal Terminal and Stevedoring Company, and upon retirement at the age of 65 he began to work with Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio. He had two grandchildren, named Heather and Brandon. DeVoy died on January 7, 2000.

Forest Park is one of the natural treasures of New York City. The Wisconsin glacier molded the land 20,000 years ago and left the Harbor Hill Moraine, creating a series of small hills, known as “knob and kettle” terrain, within Forest Park. The Brooklyn Parks Department sought to create a public park there and purchased the first parcel on August 9, 1895, with parcel acquisition continuing until 1898. The parkland, originally known as Brooklyn Forest Park, was acquired by the City with the consolidation of greater New York in 1898. At that time, the Brooklyn Parks Department managed parklands in what is now all of Queens and Brooklyn. In 1911, an independent Queens Parks Department was established for the borough. Forest Park offers a wide array of recreational facilities today, such as the George Seuffert, Sr. Bandshell, a carousel, a bridal path, tennis courts, playgrounds, and Victory Field.

DeVoy Playground is located on Union Turnpike at 71st Avenue in Forest Park. The site was known as Community Playground until Commissioner Stern renamed it in 2000, with the support of Council Member Thomas Ognibene, Assemblyman Seminerio, Community Board Six, and Senator Serphin Maltese.

The playground also received a $200,000 renovation funded by Mayor Giuliani and Council Member Ognibene, and was rededicated on November 20, 2000. The playground now features swings for tots and kids, new play equipment, swings, panel fencing and gates, woodchip safety surfacing, and dogwood plantings.

Directions to Forest Park

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