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.
New York City acquired this property by condemnation in December 1960 and, six years later, the playground opened to the public. Jointly operated by Parks and the Department of Education, the playground at P.S. 41 quickly became a popular spot both for schoolchildren enjoying their recess and local residents in need of recreational space. In June 1987, Parks named the property Magenta Playground.
Bound by Olinville Avenue and Rosewood and Magenta Streets, much of the play equipment in this park was first installed or renovated in 1998 with funds allocated by the City Council. The spray shower, jungle gym, and swings are fun for children of all ages, and the climbable seal provides a unique playmate as well.