Frederick Douglass Playground
Parks Cuts The Ribbon On Renovated Frederick Douglass PlaygroundIMMEDIATE
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe today joined City Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito, community members and children from local day camps to cut the ribbon on the renovation of Frederick Douglas Playground in upper Manhattan. The $1.8 million project was made possible through $1.2 million in funding from former Council Member Philip Reed, $325,000 from Council Member Mark Viverito, and additional $263,000 from Mayor Bloomberg.
“Thanks to funding allocations from Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito, Philip Reed, and Mayor Bloomberg this old playground has a whole new look,” said Commissioner Benepe. “The new in-ground mini pool, new basketball court, and restored perimeter will provide a safe and beautiful place for neighborhood children to play. With the completion of this project, all of the neighborhood playgrounds in this part of Manhattan Valley have received some form of renovation in the last 10 years.”
The renovation project included extensive engineering work to improve the site. The above ground swimming pool was replaced with a more attractive in-ground mini pool. Additional renovations to the playground include new curbs and sidewalks, World’s Fair benches and new plantings throughout.
Frederick Douglass Playground opened on September 10, 1958. In 1998, the playground received a $150,000 renovation sponsored by City Council Member Philip Reed, which installed modular play equipment and safety surfacing and repaired the park’s handball courts. In 1999, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani allocated an additional $44,000 to complete the renovation. The playground now features a mini pool, a handball court, a basketball court, a comfort station, an asphalt baseball diamond, three basketball standards, swings, and camel animal art.
Frederick Douglass was born in Tuckahoe, Maryland in 1817. The son of a slave, he educated himself by reading abolitionist literature, even though even though literacy among slaves was illegal. He eventually escaped slavery in the south and settled in New York City where he went on to be one of the foremost leaders of the abolitionist movement and served as an advisor to President Lincoln.