Florence Colucci Playground
What was here before?
Into the 1930s, the immediate area was populated with vacant lots, single family homes, and a collection of chicken coops.
How did this site become a playground?
NYC Parks acquired this property through condemnation in 1938, and the playground was built in 1969. In 1995, the playground was completely reconstructed as part of the Neighborhood Parks Improvement Program. The park’s seating area was reconstructed in 2017, and an adult fitness area was added in 2020.
Who is this playground named for?
This playground is named for community activist Florence Colucci (1921-1982), a resident of Pelham Bay for more than 38 years.
Born in Shrub Oak, New York, Colucci founded and presided over the Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Civic Association, the first organization of its kind in the Bronx. Colucci served as a member of Bronx Community Board 10 and as chairperson of the Northeast Bronx Committee for Neighborhood Schools. She was active in the Ladies Auxiliary of various veterans’ organizations and in several charitable organizations, including the Cancer Fund, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the March of Dimes. Through her weekly column in the local newspaper The News Sentinel, Colucci also became known as “The Voice of Pelham Bay.”
One of Colucci’s community efforts centered on lobbying for the construction of a multipurpose playground on this lot, which some had proposed to turn into a homeless shelter. When the park was built in 1969, it was unofficially dedicated to Colucci by Mayor John V. Lindsay (1921- 2000), who saluted her efforts to transform what was a vacant lot into this playground. Six months after her death in 1983, the City Council passed a local law naming the playground in her honor.