This playground takes its name from the adjacent Bayview Houses, which overlooks historic Jamaica Bay. The development is bordered on three sides by Canarsie Park and on the fourth by Seaview Avenue.
The name for Canarsie Park comes from the Canarsie (or Canarsee), who lived in this area. They called this land Keskachauge (or Kestateuw), but Dutch settlers renamed the area New Amersfoort in the 1630s. In 1675, Jan Martense Schenck, a Dutch immigrant, built a house in the area of New Amersfoort, on Mill Island, within the current boundaries of the park. The original house was simple; it had two rooms and was 20 feet by 40 feet. The family later expanded the house into an L-shaped plan containing eleven rooms. When the British took control of the territory during the American Revolution, they renamed New Amersfoort the Flatlands.
In 1895 and 1896, the City of Brooklyn purchased land for Canarsie Park. Increasing real estate pressures in the 1920s made preserving the Schenck house on its original site nearly impossible. In 1928, the house was disassembled and stored at the Brooklyn Art Museum until it was rebuilt and installed in the American Homes Exhibit in 1933. The parkland expanded in the 1930s and 1940s and a portion was transferred to NYC Parks in the 1950s.
Nearby, Jamaica Bay is an 18,000-acre wetland estuary, an area almost equal to that of Manhattan. The bay consists of numerous islands, a labyrinth of waterways, meadowlands, and two freshwater ponds. Enclosed by the Rockaway Peninsula and protected from the Atlantic Ocean, the region currently hosts over 325 species of birds, 50 species of butterflies, and 100 species of finfish and is an integral part of the larger, regional ecosystem.
Through the efforts of Robert Moses (1888-1981) who served as Parks Commissioner from 1934-60, much of Jamaica Bay was placed under NYC Parks jurisdiction in 1938. Originally, Jamaica Bay Park covered over 9,151.8 acres of wetlands and beaches, and Commissioner Moses defeated plans to create a large industrial port in order to maintain the park’s natural state.
Bayview Playground, located on Seaview Avenue and adjacent to P.S. 272, was acquired in two parcels – one in 1955 by local law and the other in 1962 as a gift from the New York City Housing Authority. The playground, surrounded by a chain link fence and paved with asphalt, contains a comfort station, flagpole with a yardarm, and two drinking fountains. Play areas include basketball and handball courts, a spray shower, metal play equipment with safety surfacing, tot and regular swings and tot play equipment. The combination of benches and London plane trees provide areas to sit in the shade.