Kissena Corridor Park

Playground One Forty Six (CXLVI)

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

Playground One Forty Six CXLVI, located in the Queens neighborhood of Queensboro Hill, takes its name from its location on 146th Street. Using Roman numerals demonstrates a degree of formality that would not normally be used for a street name. The Latin language, and its Roman numerals, were used for legal, theological, and scientific uses for several centuries after the language ceased to be used in conversational interaction.

The Roman system of numbers is different from the numerical representation in modern languages. Instead of each symbol designating a separate number, each symbol represents an amount that, taken together, designates a particular number. In this ancient language, C=100, X=10, L=50, V=5, and I=1. It may be difficult, then, to understand why CXLVI means 146, and not 166. When a symbol of a lower value appears in front of a symbol of a higher value (for example 10, or “X,” is less than 50, or “L”), then one subtracts the lower number from the higher one. Therefore, instead of XL meaning 10+50, it actually means 50-10, or 40. Thus, Playground One Forty Six is also Playground C(100)XL(40)VI(6).

Playground One Forty Six CXLVI is part of Kissena Corridor Park. The natural grass area that sits behind the playground is also part of the open space corridor that links together a whole range of parks and playgrounds stretching between Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Kissena Park, and Cunningham Park. Kissena and Cunningham Parks were first planned for the development of Greater New York on a map drafted in 1900 by Louis Risse, the chief engineer of New York City’s Topographical Bureau and the designer of the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. The map, which measured 27 feet by 31 feet, was displayed in Paris in 1900, where, along with the new Paris Metro, it was among the most popular attractions of the exposition. In addition to designating two of the parks that are now linked by Kissena Corridor, the map also planned for other parks, boulevards, and highways that would more closely integrate the five boroughs into a single city.

Parks Commissioner Robert Moses (1888-1981) sought to create an “emerald necklace” of parkland stretching across Queens, addressing the needs posed by its rapid rate of population growth and land development. Most of the corridor was pieced together between 1944 and 1947. As part of the 1964-65 World’s Fair, the Queens Botanical Gardens was added to the west end of the corridor, where it connects with Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Along its bicycle path, Kissena Corridor Park ties together natural open spaces, the Queens Botanical Gardens, and playgrounds like this one. The resulting “necklace” of open space stretches from Corona to Little Neck, a distance of over seven miles.

The playground is located at 56th Road and 146th Street. The climbing equipment, which includes slides, monkey bars, stairs, and climbing poles, is bright green, yellow, and red. Different designs accommodate both younger and older children, and both sets of equipment have safety surfacing. There are also swings for toddlers and older children. Plenty of benches are available, and people use the picnic tables for lunch on nice days. For hot days, there is a spray shower and a fountain. The playground also includes a flagpole with a yardarm and a bike rack, while the mature London plane trees (Platanus x acerifolia) that stand around the perimeter shade the playground.

Directions to Kissena Corridor Park

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