Situated on the northeast corner of 38th Street and Dahill Road, Dome Playground is named in honor of community activists Charles (1904-1984) and Jessie Dome (1904-1987). Long-time residents of Borough Park, Brooklyn, the Domes devoted themselves to improving their community. Charles Dome served on Community Board 12 and was the founding member and first chairman of the Roosevelt Democratic Club. He also had the honor of serving as a presidential elector. Charles Dome’s service was not limited to politics, however; he served on the Board of Trustees of Temple Emmanu-El in Borough Park. Jessie Dome worked as a teacher in the New York City Public School system for 35 years. For over 15 years, she also volunteered at Maimonides Hospital. With her husband, Jessie Dome attended Temple Emmanu-El in Borough Park, where she was a member of the synagogue’s Sisterhood. The Domes were married for over 50 years and raised two sons.
Dome Playground is located in the Kensington section of west-central Brooklyn. Kensington is bounded on the north side by Caton Avenue, on the east by Coney Island Avenue, on the south by Avenue H, and on the west by McDonald Avenue. In the early seventeenth century, Dutch farmers colonized the area as part of the town of Flatbush. The area remained highly rural until after 1850 when the Coney Island Plank Road was completed. This road linked Coney Island to the City of Brooklyn, increasing the region’s accessibility and thus attracting land developers. In 1851 the United Freeman’s Association purchased the Ditmas and Tredwell family farms and constructed the first residences in northern Kensington, just south of Windsor Terrace. The Association established a system of streets that intersect Brooklyn’s north-south street grid diagonally, and which are still present today. In 1875 the completion of the northern section of Ocean Parkway further spurred the neighborhood’s development. Most of the homes in Kensington are row houses and six-story apartment buildings built during the 1920s. Today, Kensington is known as one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
The City of New York acquired this property by condemnation on August 20, 1936, and Parks immediately assumed jurisdiction over the area. In 1988, the City Council passed a local law that named the playground for the Domes. Two years later, Dome Playground underwent a renovation that included the installation of a chain link fence, kinder swings, a new basketball court, timberform play equipment, benches, a new entranceway spray shower, and a drinking fountain. Numerous tree species were also planted, including the European hornbeam, kwanzan cherry tree, pyramidal English oak, red oak, zumi crabapple tree, thornless honeylocust, and Saint Paul spreading euonymous. Today the playground has two handball courts, a full basketball court, play equipment, and safety surfacing.