What was here before?
Photos taken during the construction of the adjoining P.S. 149 by the Works Progress Administration show low-slung houses amongst an otherwise empty landscape in the immediately surrounding area.
How did this site become a playground?
The City of New York acquired this land for the Board of Education in 1951, and it was conveyed to NYC Parks in 1952. This playground is a Jointly Operated Playground (JOP) serving P.S. 149 Christa McAuliffe and the local community. Beginning in 1938, the Board of Education (now the Department of Education) agreed to provide land next to schools where the Parks Department could build and maintain playgrounds that could be used by the school during the day and by the public when school is not in session.
When it opened in 1960, the playground featured a roller-skating area, baseball field, sports courts, play equipment, and a comfort station. Parks renamed this playground 93rd Street Playground in 1985, and then Northern Playground in 1986. The synthetic turf multi-use baseball field was renovated in 2022.
What is this playground named for?
This playground is named after adjoining Northern Boulevard. The roadway was originally called Jackson Avenue after John C. Jackson (1809-1889), the late President of the Hunter’s Point, Newtown and Flushing Turnpike Company, which built Jackson Avenue in the early 1860s. In 1921, Jackson Avenue was renamed Northern Boulevard because of its position on the north shore of Queens. The surrounding neighborhood of Jackson Heights was named after Jackson Avenue, and the high ground that lies within the southern portion of the area.