Magenta Playground and Magenta Street bear the name of the reddish color coined by French designers after an 1859 victory at the Italian city of Magenta. The naming of the color celebrated the victory of a battle in which an Italo-Franco alliance defeated the Austrians and helped to bring about a unified Italy. Prior to 1900, this Bronx neighborhood was inhabited by a small colony of French weavers as well as by a growing number of Italian immigrants. The street was named Magenta to signify the Italo-Franco unity that once characterized this portion of the Bronx.
In the years since 1900, the ethnic makeup of the area surrounding Magenta Playground has come to include a large Caribbean and Jewish population in addition to the earlier inhabitants of Italian descent. The playground lies near to two large green spaces in this neighborhood, the New York Botanical Garden and Woodlawn Cemetery.