Carlos J. Lozada Playground
This playground is located on the north side of East 135th Street between Alexander and Willis Avenues in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. The site was acquired in 1938 and constructed in 1939. On November 21, 1987 the playground was named for Private Carlos J. Lozada, and rededicated after major capital improvements in 1995.
The Mott Haven neighborhood is named for Jordan L. Mott, who ran an industrial complex, west of Third Avenue. Mott showed early promise as an inventor; at the age of fifteen, he invented a tape weaving machine. He received more than fifty patents, the most important of which was a patent for an anthracite coal burning stove. Mott’s Iron Works cast many of the manhole covers used throughout the Bronx, as well as the wrought-iron bridges in Central Park. Products of Mott’s foundry can be found around the world, from California to Turkey and from Japan to South America.
Private First Class Carlos F. Lozada of the Bronx was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his selfless actions on Hill 875 in the Dak To region of Vietnam three miles from the Cambodian border. Private 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, Private Lozada alerted his comrades.
He 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, he 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.
When the site of the playground was first surveyed in October 1938, there were five brick residences along Alexander Avenue and ten wood frame residences along East 136th Street, as well as two garages. A 1939 plan for the playground construction shows playhouses and a sand pit on the west end of the site and a wading pool, comfort station, basketball court, and handball courts to the east. The plan also shows several examples of historic play equipment -- pipeframe jungle gyms and seesaws.
In 1995, Lozada Playground was refurbished with funds allocated by Borough President Fernando Ferrer under the Neighborhood Parks Improvement Program, the predecessor to the requirements contract program. Renovations included upgrading and repairing the existing play equipment, comfort station, swings, chess and checkers tables, and basketball and handball courts. In 2007, mayoral funding provided for new safety surfaces, a reconstructed swing fence and tree pruning in the playground area.