Di Mattina Playground
This playground is named for Vincent J. DiMattina (1915-1966) an attorney who was actively involved in civic and religious affairs within his community in Brooklyn. This playground opened in Carroll Park in 1947.
When he was 16-years-old, DiMattina took his first job working on the Brooklyn Waterfront where he stayed until he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942. Trained as a deep-sea diver, DiMattina served with the 104th Naval Construction Battalion, better known as Seabees, in the South Pacific until December 1945. At the time of his discharge, DiMattina had earned the rank of Chief Boatswain’s Mate.
When he returned to Brooklyn, DiMattina completed his education, attended law school, and was admitted to the Bar in 1954. As Membership Chairman of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), he organized sixteen Posts in Brooklyn and in 1951, was elected County Commander. His service to the New York State VFW Headquarters included Loyalty Day Chairman, Chairman of the Department Rehabilitation Committee, member of the Department Legislative Committee, Department Inspector, and Judge Advocate.
DiMattina held a number of important positions locally and nationally. During the 1960s he was New York State Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. DiMattina served as a United States Government Appeals Agent for the Local Draft Board, a Grand Knight of Our Lady of Loretto Council No. 585, and Assistant Counsel to the Minority Leader of the New York State Assembly from 1963-1964. At the time of his death, DiMattina was the Counsel to the Speaker of the Assembly on Military and Patriotic Affairs.
The City acquired the two parcels of land that form DiMattina Park in three phases. The smaller (.52 acre) section bound by Rapelye, Woodhull, and Hicks Streets was acquired in 1941 and 1942, and the larger (1.38 acre) section, bound by Rapelye, Hicks, and Cole Streets, was acquired in 1947. NYC Parks received both parcels from the City in 1947, and a 1967 local law named the larger section for DiMattina, leaving the smaller section nameless. In 1987, NYC Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern noticed the oversight and applied the name to both.
In 2001, NYC Parks completed a project to install a dog run in the larger section of DiMattina Playground and improve the play facilities with swings for tots and children and new steel play equipment with safety surfacing. In 2014, the DiMattina Dog Run was reconstructed and expanded to create separate spaces for large and small dogs. Drainage was improved, and a water supply for fountains was installed. The dog run also features a new surface made of stone dust—making the playground fun and friendly for both pets and families in Carroll Park.