Booker T. Washington Playground

Parks Opens New Turf Field At Booker T. Washington Playground

Monday, October 16, 2006
No. 94

Parks & Recreation Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro today joined Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito and State Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell to cut the ribbon on a $923,000 synthetic turf field and six half basketball courts at Booker T. Washington Playground in Manhattan. The new field is made of cutting-edge synthetic turf with a rubber crumb infill made of recycled tires. Former Council Member Philip Reed allocated funding for the project.

"Last spring this was a huge expanse of unyielding, unfriendly, cracked asphalt. In a few short months it has been transformed into a vast and versatile field of dreams, providing a safe and welcoming play surface for students, neighborhood youth leagues, and athletes young and old," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Benepe.

Parks & Recreation began installing synthetic turf ballfields in 1997. Benefits of this material include improved safety; increased versatility (synthetic turf can accommodate more sports, including particularly punishing ones such as soccer); increased playing time; decreased need for maintenance; and decreased environmental impact thanks to the elimination of chemical pesticides and fertilizer, fossil-fuel-powered equipment, and irrigation using drinking water.

The playground, which is named for the remarkable leader in the post-Civil War South was acquired by Parks & Recreation in 1950. Although Booker T. Washington was born a slave, he persisted in obtaining a good education, becoming an educator himself and head of the Tuskegee Institute. He later rose to be a powerful voice in civil rights politics, and was a friend and advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt.

Parks & Recreation is underway on a number of major capital projects in Manhattan, including the reconstruction of the East River Park seawall and promenade, from Jackson Street to East 14th Street; the renovations of Union Square Park and Washington Square Park. In addition, Parks will create or make improvements to 20 parks in Lower Manhattan through funding from Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

Directions to Booker T. Washington Playground


  • Parks Opens New Turf Field At Booker T. Washington Playground

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