Elijah Stroud Playground
This playground and the adjacent school are named for Elijah J. Stroud (1923-1972), a New York Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty. Patrolman Stroud lived in Freeport, Long Island with his wife and small child and had two other grown children living in California. A veteran of the Police Department, Stroud was assigned to Grand Avenue Station, 80th Precinct, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Described as mild-mannered and kind, officer Stroud patrolled the area around P.S. 9 and volunteered at P.S. 136.
On the night of March 18, 1972, Stroud entered Irving’s Meat Market, seven blocks from the 80th Precinct. A regular customer, Stroud was making a purchase and speaking with the owners when two armed men entered the store. As the store owner was putting money in a bag for the robbers, a shot was fired. Gunfire then broke out on both sides as Stroud attempted to get the situation under control. Stroud was shot once in the stomach and once in the head. The robbers fled empty-handed.
Officer Stroud was posthumously awarded a medal for heroic acts from Mayor John V. Lindsay (1921-2000) in December 1973. Despite the Police Department’s best efforts, Stroud’s killers remain at large. A plaque in the school adjacent to the playground commemorates Patrolman Stroud, stating that he was “…a professional policeman, whose love and devotion to his children was outstanding. He gave his life so that we may live in peace. His sacrifice will not be forgotten. Killed in the line of duty, March 18, 1972.”
This playground, located on Classon Avenue between Park and Sterling Places, was acquired jointly with the Board of Education (now the Department of Education) in January 1964. NYC Parks Commissioner Henry Stern named the playground Elijah Stroud Playground in 1985. A restoration project in 2000 replaced the fencing and fixed the pavement, and in 2001 a Greenstreet was created in front of the playground.
Stroud Playground was renovated in 2017-18 through the Community Parks Initiative – a multi-faceted program to increase the accessibility and quality of parks throughout the five boroughs in an equitable manner. The innovative design was drafted by the Prospect Park Alliance in an effort to share their resources by helping to improve park spaces in adjoining communities. The playground includes new play equipment for children of all ages and abilities, and an interactive spray shower. The basketball and handball courts were expanded and rebuilt, and a new synthetic turf area accommodates open play. A new walking track and fitness equipment help people stay in shape, and new trees provide shade for the new seating area. This initiative ensures that the playground remains an enjoyable neighborhood amenity for Brooklyn families.