Gonzalo Plasencia Playground
Playground Three Forty
Playground Three Forty gets its name from its location on 3rd Avenue and 40th Street. The City purchased the land in 1958 in order to provide a playground for the adjoining J.H.S. 136, the Charles O. Dewey School.
Dr. Charles Oliver Dewey (1854-1914) was born in Freetown, New York. After graduating from the State Normal School in Cortland, he attended Syracuse University. Dewey received his B.A. in 1880 and went on to earn degrees from New York University and the Brooklyn Law School. He served as Superintendent of the New York Juvenile Asylum School for a year, then took on a position in Englewood, New Jersey as the principal of the high school and the Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Dewey later served as the Brooklyn principal of J.H.S. 136 (which, at the time, was named P.S. 136). He was also the president of the Brooklyn Principals’ Association for four years, and president of the New York Principals’ Association for one. Dr. Dewey died of bronchial pneumonia following an operation at the age of 60 in 1914. J.H.S. 136 was renamed in honor of Charles O. Dewey’s life and commitment to public education.
Originally opened in October 1965 as the J.H.S. 136 Playground, this site became Playground Three Forty in 1985. It is jointly maintained by Parks and the Board of Education.
In the late 1990s, City Councilman Angel Rodriguez provided $770,000 in funding for renovations to the site. The upper playground received the majority of the work, re-opening in 1998 with three new play structures and safety surfacing. The playground also received new trees, a water fountain, benches, a new flagpole, and a spray fountain surrounded by fanciful frog statues. The lower playground contains a large grassy baseball field, as well as fenced basketball and handball courts.