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Electric Playground

Electric Playground

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

Electric Playground takes its name from Electchester Homes, a housing development opened in the early 1950s through the efforts of Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. (1903-1986), head of Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW).

Electchester Homes is on the former grounds of the 136-acre Pomonok Country Club, whose 300 members voted to disband in 1949. The subsequent 38-building community was built in response to the housing shortage faced by city residents after World War II. The members of the union each contributed $100 towards the Electchester’s construction, with the union matching the amount raised. The IBEW also donated land on the grounds for the construction of P.S. 200 and Electric Playground.

The City acquired the playground site on November 15, 1951, and NYC Parks immediately obtained jurisdiction over the property. After being called the Electchester Playground for over 40 years, NYC Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern renamed the playground on April 8, 1998 ahead of a renovation, which gave the park its current electric theme.

The kite with key, light bulbs, and eels that adorn the play equipment at Electric Playground are linked by the common theme of electricity. Electric eels are able to produce high voltages in order to stun prey. The light bulb and kite with key symbolize two important achievements in the understanding of electricity. Electric Playground also features a Franklinia tree, named in honor of Ben Franklin, a street lamp, and wire-shaped play equipment.

Park Information

Directions to Electric Playground

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