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Sixteen Sycamores Playground

Sixteen Sycamores Playground

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This Schermerhorn Street playground, located between Nevins Street and Third Avenue, was aptly named by Parks in 1995 for the sycamores abounding in it. While several of the trees are clearly younger than the rest, the taller ones are all sycamores, also known as plane trees. Found in North America, Asia, and Europe, sycamores are especially popular in the United States as ornamental trees. Capable of growing over one hundred feet in height, sycamores possess trunks up to eight feet in diameter.

Originally acquired by the City in 1934 in connection with the construction of a subway, this site was owned by the Board of Transportation until it was assigned to Parks in 1961. In 1935, workers in the brand-new Works Progress Administration (WPA) planned and constructed Sixteen Sycamores Playground. Building parks was one of the many projects undertaken by the WPA, a massive program initiated by President Roosevelt as part of his New Deal. Charged with reviving the American economy during the Depression, the WPA successfully instituted and administered countless public works. The WPA eventually built 850 airports, 120,000 bridges, 125,000 public buildings and 8,000 parks.

This park is located in Boerum Hill, a neighborhood named for the Simon Boerum family farm that occupied this land this land in the eighteenth century. Three- and four-story rowhouses, built mostly between 1840 and 1870, are still home to most of the residents of this historic area. During the 1960s, urban renewal plans threatened many of the aging buildings of Boerum Hill, but neighborhood groups worked together to prevent their demolition and to resurrect waning neighborhood pride. Nearby Nevins Avenue, half a block to the west, is named for Russell Nevins, who along with Charles Hoyt, and the Martense and Gerritsen families, owned most of the land of Boerum Hill in the nineteenth century. Sixteen Sycamores Playground opened to the public on June 6, 1935. The playground, bursting with green foliage around its perimeter, offers several sets of play equipment with safety surfacing, handball courts, swings, and a comfort station. A yardarm flagpole stands in the center of the playground, and benches offer a peaceful spot to rest under the towering sycamores.

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Know Before You Go

PlaygroundsSixteen Sycamores Playground

NYC Parks has removed slides in this park due to a manufacturer recall. The manufacture is currently working on an improved design and redesigned slides will be installed as soon as possible.

  • Sixteen Sycamores Playground
  • Sixteen Sycamores Playground

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