Caserta Playground

Susan Caserta Playground

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This playground honors the memory of Susan Caserta (1939-1994), a dedicated mother and community member. Born in Manhattan on December 20, 1939, Susan Boyarsky attended Jane Adams Vocational High School and Bronx Community College, before marrying Eugene Caserta. Together they had three children, Barbara, Debbie, and Joseph, all of whom attended P.S. 106 and J.H.S 127, where Susan Caserta volunteered for 20 years.

Susan Caserta spent a great deal of time at this playground, adjacent to P.S. 106. She was active in the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, but when her children began attending school, Caserta dedicated most of her time to the Parents Association of P.S. 106. She served as president for several years, publishing and editing Parents Press a newsletter that allowed parents, students, and faculty to keep informed about school events and issues.

Caserta also held an interest in the arts, coordinating student art festivals and designing costumes for school productions. In addition, Caserta coached and managed the Parkchester Little League Girl’s Softball Team and volunteered at the after-school center, caring for children of working mothers. Mrs. Caserta worked on student theater productions or in after-school activities until her death on May 22, 1994.

Originally named Odell Playground after John Odell, a late 18th century carpenter who rebuilt the Bronx Episcopal Church in Westchester in 1789, in time the playground came to be known as Susan’s Park, or sometimes Mrs. Caserta’s Park. Upon her passing, the community wanted to properly recognize Caserta and her dedication to the school over the years. The City Council was asked to rename this playground in her honor. On December 23, 1996, the City Council passed a local law naming this playground in honor of Caserta. That same year, City Council Member Lucy Cruz allocated $550,000 for the playground’s reconstruction. The playground, bounded by St. Raymond’s Avenue, Odell Street, and Purdy Street in the Parkchester neighborhood, features both metal and timber play equipment with safety surfacing, basketball and handball courts, exercise bars, a water fountain, benches, and a comfort station.

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