Linwood Playground

Linwood Playground

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

Beneath the elevated train tracks and under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, this playground shares the property with Elton Playground on the other side of the tracks.

To the Dutch settlers who first laid out village streets in East New York, this area was known as Ostwout, meaning “east woods.” In the 1670s, English farmers began to settle the area as well, intermingling with the Dutch and giving the land the name of New Lots. The area remained primarily rural until 1835, when John Pitkin, a merchant from Connecticut, bought the Ostwout land north of New Lots Avenue and named it East New York in a marketing effort intended to suggest a connection with the metropolis to the west. Linwood Street, formerly known as Monroe Street, was probably laid out in the early- to mid-1800s, and named for President James Monroe (1758-1831).

The construction of the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903 and the IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit) trains in 1922 marked the beginnings of an influx of immigration to East New York that continued into the 1940s. The expansion of the neighborhood made it a very eligible recipient for a share of some of the major urban reconstruction happening under the authority of urban planner Robert Moses (1888-1981) in the mid-to late- 1930s.

After World War II (1939-1945), many formerly prosperous East New York properties were abandoned and neglected, leading to decades of decay. The problems worsened after corruption in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) resulted in foreclosures on housing by the federal government, leaving vacant buildings that were eventually destroyed by arson. Unemployment was high and the area deteriorated. It remained in decline until the late 1970s. The construction of affordable housing, the creation of community gardens, and the reconstruction of parklands such as Linwood Playground have helped in the restoration of the area.

This playground, located on Linwood Street between New Lots and Hegemon avenues, was built in 1938 and completely reconstructed in the summer of 2001, with the aid of a $291,000 allocation from Borough President Howard K. Golden. The renovations of 2001 began again from the bare earth, saving only a few trees. The brand-new facilities include colorful play equipment and safety surfacing, swings, backstops and surfacing on the basketball court, plantings, asphalt, benches, and fences.

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Directions to Linwood Playground

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