The City acquired the land that is now Spirit Playground on June 18, 1963, when Mayor Robert F. Wagner (1910-1991) condemned it. At the time, two- and three-story buildings in poor condition, housing thirty-five families and ten commercial tenants occupied the land. Wagner felt this particular Long Island City neighborhood was lacking adequate educational and recreational facilities, deeming the buildings for Public Schools 1 and 83 insufficient (constructed in 1898 and 1904, respectively). The City immediately drew up plans to construct a new public school, P.S. 76, and an accompanying playground, which would be jointly operated by Parks and the Board of Education.