What was here before?
Prior to the arrival of European settlers in the 17th century, the Rockaway peninsula was inhabited by the Canarsie tribe. Deriving from the language of the Delaware and Chippewa Native Americans, the names “Reckonwacky,” meaning “the place of our own people,” and “Reckanawahaha,” meaning “the place of laughing waters,” are both recognized as the area’s indigenous names. These terms later became the present name following European colonization. Other interpretations include “lekau,” meaning sand, and “lechauwaak,” for fork or branch, which also reflect the historic and geographic traits of the peninsula.
The Canarsie Tribe sold the mostly barren land to Captain Palmer, an Englishman, with a deed granted by then Governor Thomas Dongan in 1685. Disappointed with his purchase, Palmer sold the land in 1687 to a prominent iron master from Long Island, Richard Cornell.
After a partition suit divided the Cornell plot in 1808, the parcels were sold to several parties, notably the Rockaway Association, which began building exclusive seaside resorts in 1833. During the 1890s, amusement parks rivaling the popular Coney Island were built. In 1898, the Village of Rockaway Park was incorporated into New York City.
In an effort to make Rockaway more accessible to people from all over New York, many access options were created beginning with the completion of the Cross Bay Bridge in 1925, Marine Parkway in 1937, and improvement of the area’s subway system in 1941. Since the end of World War II (1939-1945), the area has become a largely residential community.
How did this site become a playground?
Originally named P.S. 42 Playground, the playground was opened in 1965, and renamed by NYC Parks in 1985. The playground serves as a play space for the school children of P.S. 42. The playground includes benches, a flagpole, and London planetrees ining the perimeter. Additional play areas include a spray shower; three full basketball courts, two handball courts, swings, and a large asphalt field.
What is this playground named for?
This playground, located in Queens on the Rockaway peninsula, is named for nearby Almeda Avenue.