Vincent Ciccarone Playground
Vincent Ciccarone Playground is one of nine New York City Parks & Recreation playgrounds opened on July 15, 1934. They were built using a $250,000 War Memorial Fund that had been established in 1921 by the New York City Police Department. By 1934 the fund--never spent--had grown in value to $350,000. Commissioner Robert Moses, seeking additional open spaces for children, obtained a legal ruling permitting use of the fund for playground development. The ruling mandated that each property honor the memory of a soldier who gave his life in combat by name, and that it be accompanied by a commemorative tablet.
The Fund was transferred to Parks on March 19, 1934. With additional funding from the Federal Temporary Emergency Relief Administration all nine playgrounds were constructed in less than four months. Each was equipped with a play area, wading pool, brick field house and comfort station, and flagpole. These playgrounds were part of a larger effort that expanded the number of playgrounds in the city from 157 to 196 in that year. The dedication of the war memorial playgrounds took place in a ceremony led by Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia and Commissioner Moses from William E. Sheridan Playground in Brooklyn. It was broadcast to the other eight playgrounds through an elaborate public address system.
Vincent Ciccarone, the youngest of seven children, was born on November 26, 1886 in the Province of Chieta, Italy. Ciccarone grew up in Italy, where he graduated from high school. He went on to pursue musical studies, only to be interrupted by the compulsory call to military service for all twenty-year-olds. During his Italian military career, Ciccarone received a medal of honor as a "sharpshooter." Upon the completion of his service at the age of 23, he was awarded the rank of Corporal in the Infantry. After working in business for two years, he emigrated to the United States where one of his brothers already lived.
Ciccarone lived in Norfolk, New York, a town north of Potsdam in St. Lawrence County, where he opened a general store and continued to pursue music. He was called to military duty in November 1917, and became a private in Company B, 305th Infantry, 77th Division. He was wounded in the Argonne Forest in 1918. Ciccarone died of his wounds on January 10, 1920 at USA General Hospital Number 2 at Fort McHenry, Maryland. This playground is located in the Fordham section of the Bronx and is bounded to the north and south by East 188th and 187th Streets, east and west by Hughes and Arthur Avenues. In 1997, it was renovated through the use of a $123,000 requirements contract funded by the Mayor. Improvements included the installation of new play equipment, safety surfacing, and a weathervane.
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