Carlos J. Lozada Playground
What was here before?
In 1938, a site adjacent to this playground was surveyed and acquired by the City. At that time, there were five brick residences along Alexander Avenue, ten wood-framed residences, and two garages along East 136th Street.
How did this site become a playground?
A 1939 plan for the playground construction shows playhouses and a sandpit on the west end of the site and a wading pool, comfort station, basketball court, and handball courts to the east. The plan also included play equipment like pipe frame jungle gyms and seesaws.
In the early 1960s, the block was redesigned to accommodate a new school, PS 154, and the Mitchell Houses. A new Jointly Operated Playground (JOP) was built at a location adjacent to its predecessor, opening in 1964. JOPs came about as part of an initiative begun in 1938. The Board of Education agreed to provide land next to schools for NYC Parks to build and maintain playgrounds that could be used by the school during the day and the public on evenings and weekends.
This playground was upgraded in 1995 and 2007.
Who is this playground named for?
In 1968 the playground was named for Private First Class Carlos James Lozada (1946-1967), who grew up in the neighborhood. PFC Lozada, a machine-gunner with 1st Platoon, Company A, was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his selfless actions on Hill 875 at the battle of Dak To in Vietnam. Lozada was part of an early warning outpost, located thirty-five meters from his company’s lines. When a North Vietnamese Army Company rapidly approached within ten meters of the outpost, he alerted his comrades.
Lozada remained in an exposed position and continued to fire upon the opposition despite the urgent pleas of his comrades to withdraw. The North Vietnamese continued their assault, attempting to envelop the outpost. When his company was ordered to retreat, Lozada directed his comrades to move back and announced that he would stay to provide cover for them. He continued to defend his position and his retreating company against the opposition until he was mortally wounded and carried away by his comrades. PFC Lozada's heroic deed served as an example and inspiration to his platoon throughout the four-day battle.