Vesuvio Playground

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Parks & Recreation Breaks Ground At Vesuvio Playground

Photo by Daniel Avila

On April 27, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and community members to break ground on the $2.8 million renovation of Vesuvio Playground. The project was funded by Speaker Quinn and marks the first complete renovation of the playground in more than 25 years.

"Vesuvio Playground has been for most of its life a classic, gritty urban play space, but recently it has started to show its age," said Commissioner Benepe. "Now this park, named for the venerable Italian bakery owned by the late neighborhood advocate Tony Dapolito, will be fully renovated to meet the recreational needs of the 21st century, while celebrating the vibrant but vanishing heritage of the Italian Greenwich Village."

Parks & Recreation will replace the 40-year-old swimming pool with a brand new in-ground swimming pool and install new play equipment and a spray shower. The project also includes a chess and checkers table with benches, as well as landscaping with new plantings and greenery. The handball courts will also receive a facelift.

While Vesuvio Playground takes its name from the popular bakery on Prince Street, it was the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. that destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii. The renovation project was designed in the theme of Pompeii with Parks & Recreation designers incorporating research of the historic city into the patterns of the flooring and other elements of the playground.


Vesuvio Playground was acquired in three parcels over the course of 28 years. In 1929 and 1930, Parks purchased two parcels mid-block on Thompson Street. In 1957, Parks expanded the property south to Spring Street and west to Sullivan Street.


Vesuvio Bakery was owned by community leader Anthony Dapolito, who passed away in 2003. Dapolito played an important role in the communities of Greenwich Village and SoHo for decades in the acquisition and development of open spaces. The Tony Dapolito Recreation Center on Clarkson Street is named in his honor.


"Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!"

Tom Smothers

(1937 - )

Directions to Vesuvio Playground


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