General Hart Playground
Brig. Gen. Joseph T. Hart Park
Brigadier General Joseph T. Hart (1902-1962) was a resident of Elmhurst who led a distinguished career in military and civilian life. He joined the National Guard in 1920 and enlisted in the 69th Regiment, which later became the 165th Infantry. Hart rose through the ranks and was named brigadier general in 1940. He served with the 165th in the South Pacific during World War II in the battles of Makin and Saipan, and commanded the unit at the Battle of Okinawa in April 1945.
In honor of his exemplary service, General Hart was awarded the Silver Star with a Cluster, the Purple Heart, the American Defense Force Medal and the New York State Conspicuous Service Medal. After the war, Hart returned to the career he had begun in the Queens Borough President’s Office two decades earlier, serving as Executive Manager to Borough President Maurice Fitzgerald. At the time of his death, he was the Administrator of Audits and Accounts under Borough President John T. Clancy.
Hart Park was acquired by Parks & Recreation in 1954 as part of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway construction. It was opened to the public by Commissioner Robert Moses on October 11, 1956. The park was named for General Hart in 1964 by the City Council. In 1996, the park was upgraded with new playground equipment, safety surfacing, and benches by a capital project funded by Councilmember John D. Sabini.