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Lillian D Wald Playground

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Parks Cuts The Ribbon On Lower East Side's Lillian Wald Playground

Photo by Daniel Avila

On September 15, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, City Council Member Rosie Mendez, State Senator Daniel Squadron, State Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Community Board 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer, and children from P.S. 94, P.S. 188 and the Girls Prep Charter School, to cut the ribbon on $1.2 million in new improvements to Lillian Wald Playground. The playground is located on East Houston Street between Avenue D and Lillian Wald Drive in the Lower East Side section of Manhattan.

Thanks to $893,000 in capital funding allocated by Council Member Rosie Mendez and $361,000 allocated by Mayor Bloomberg, Parks has transformed Lillian Wald Playground. The space was renovated to create a safe, accessible and fun oasis for children of all ages. The improved ADA-accessible playground features all new play equipment, a spray shower, sports activities, safety surfaces, benches, game tables, picnic tables, plantings, fencing, lighting, and drainage systems. The playground was designed by Tristan Porto. The resident engineer was Ulrich Victor. The contractor was Lapoma Siteworks.

The play equipment is themed after the humanitarian, public health pioneer, social reformer, and leader of the recreation movement for whom the playground is named, Lillian Wald (1867 – 1940). Wald is widely recognized as the founder of visiting nursing in the United States and Canada. The large play unit’s roofs are modeled after Lower East Side tenement cornices to recognize those visiting nurses who used to jump from rooftop to rooftop so they could provide health services more rapidly. There is also a custom stethoscope balance beam and nurse’s cross climber.

In her battle to alleviate the ills of crowded tenement life, Lillian Wald was a staunch advocate for children. In 1898, along with Parks Commissioner Charles Stover, Wald founded the Outdoor Recreation League, which sponsored playground construction as a substitute for unsupervised street play. In 1902 she helped launch the world's first public school nursing program in New York City, and in 1912 she promoted the American Red Cross's rural nursing service. Her work on various health boards and commissions also facilitated the creation of the federal Children's Bureau and other health and social reforms.


“No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one.”

Elbert Hubbard
(1856 - 1915)

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