Admiral Park Sy Seplowe Playground
Admiral David Dixon Porter (1813–1891), for whom both the park and the adjacent Public School 94 are named, was born in Chester, Pennsylvania. He followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the United States Navy. During the Civil War, Porter served under Admiral Farragut during the capture of New Orleans. Later, as the commander of the Mississippi River Squadron, he joined General Ulysses S. Grant in the historic Vicksburg Campaign and was promoted to rear admiral, one rank below full admiral. In January, 1865, Porter directed the bombardment of Fort Fisher in Wilmington, North Carolina. Porter was promoted to full admiral after Farragut’s death in 1870, and he remained the most senior officer in the Navy for the next 21 years.
Seymour “Sy” Seplowe was a community activist and youth advocate. He was born in the Bronx, served in World War II, then settled in northeastern Queens during the early 1950s. Seplowe organized the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade and, in 1953, founded the Little Neck-Douglaston Youth Club, an organization of 1,200 members dedicated to providing community youth with athletic opportunities. Seplowe was also a founding member of Community Board 11 and the president of the Little Neck-Douglaston Community Council. Throughout his life, Seplowe worked to promote baseball, and served as the Little League administrator for School District 26 for 35 years.
In 1951, the City of New York acquired the land adjacent to P.S. 94 and constructed a park for the school’s use. The City named the new park in honor of Seplowe. A 1958 construction added paddle tennis tables, play equipment, new shrubs and shade trees, as well as basketball, handball, and shuffleboard courts.
In 1985, Parks renamed the property Admiral Park; however, the playground within the park continues to be known as Sy Seplowe Playground. In 1997, the park received an $852,000 renovation funded by Council Member Michael Aber. The park now boasts two handball courts, one half and one full basketball courts, a comfort station, safety surfacing, a variety of modular play equipment, a flagpole with yardarm, swings, and sitting areas. The park’s nautical theme was inspired by Admiral Porter’s career in the U.S. Navy. The nautical motif is nowhere more evident than in the spray shower, a magnificent, 15-foot tall sea serpent.