Sheepshead Bay (Zebra) Playground
You can find a few zebras in New York City, but only one Avenue Z. Z is for Zebra, and Zebra Playground is on Avenue Z between Nostrand Avenue and East 29th Street in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn.
The word “zebra” derives from the Old Portuguese zevra, meaning “wild ass.” The characteristic black-and-white stripe patterns of the zebra serve as a camouflage, breaking up their silhouettes and making them harder for predators to recognize.
Zebra Playground was traditionally known as Sheepshead Bay Playground after the surrounding neighborhood. Sheepshead Bay takes its name from the Sheepshead, a silvery, black-banded fish native to the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico. The scrappers of the sea, these aquatic creatures are known for attacking and killing much larger fishes than themselves. The name ‘Sheepshead Bay’ most likely dates back at least to 1844, when Benjamin Freeman built the first hotel in the area and called it ‘The Sheepshead’.
This playground, jointly operated by the Education and Parks, opened on October 28, 1961. In 2000, the playground was renamed after the zebra, following a $1 million renovation which brought to the site new play equipment, spray showers, picnic benches, trees, handball and basketball courts, swings, flowers and a wall ornamented with colorful fish.