This playground, originally called P.S. 166 Playground after the adjacent school, is today named after nearby 35th Avenue. Running from Ravenswood to Astoria, this roadway cuts through the famous Kaufman-Astoria studios, which have hosted productions from Sesame Street to Scent of a Woman.
Before receiving its current neighborhood moniker, this area of Queens was titled Sunswick, derived from the Algonquin word Sunkisq, meaning “woman chief.” It was also known as Hallet’s Cove in the 18th century until fur merchant Stephen A. Halsey developed the area in 1839 and petitioned the state legislature to name it after the prominent fur trader John Jacob Astor (1763-1848). The local residents agreed to change the name in the hope that Astor would donate money to the village’s young ladies’ seminary. He eventually sent five hundred dollars.