This playground is named after the nearby public school, designated P.S. 1. The school is named for Alfred Emanuel Smith (1873-1944), who grew-up on nearby Oliver Street and rose to be the governor of New York State. The housing complex east of Madison Street also bears Smith's name. Smith carried the spirit of his Lower East Side youth into all of his political work, using his skills to tirelessly campaign for wide-reaching, progressive social reform. Many of his ideas laid the groundwork for the plans outlined in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (1882-1945) Depression era New Deal.