Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center


Wednesday, September 28, 2016
No. 90

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, yesterday joined Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, former Community Board 7 Chairman Mel Wymore, school children from P.S. 191 and community members to cut the ribbon on the newly created Gertrude Ederle Playground.

Highly anticipated by community members, the playground is built on the site of an outdoor pool closed in the 1980s. The new space was built to meet the needs of multi-generational parkgoers; featuring play equipment for different age groups, a synthetic turf field for open play, a sitting area for adults, and plantings. The space, which allows mid-block, through-passage, was funded with $4.3 million by private developers and $884,000 from the City—Mayoral and City Council with then Council Member Brewer’s support.

“Open spaces like the newly created Gertrude Ederle Playground, in the midst of our urban landscape, are special to the neighborhoods they serve. They invite us to slow down, to appreciate, to think—sharing their restorative power with all that come in contact,” said Commissioner Silver. “Generously funded by the Mayor, City Council and private developers, I am delighted that we beautifully transformed this space to serve in its originally planned purpose as a neighborhood playground.”

“This new playground was a long time in the making, but seeing the children play on the beautiful playground equipment, move a soccer ball around the field, and get wet in the sprinklers, it was worth the wait!” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Congratulations and thank you to the Parks Department, Congressman Nadler, the private contributors who supported this project, Community Board 7, and especially District Manager Penny Ryan and former chair Mel Wymore. Anytime we can create a new playground or park in Manhattan, it’s a huge but worthwhile effort.”

Mr. Wymore stated: “This beautiful playground was the result of a long, sustained collaborative effort. It gives proof to the notion that good things take time. Thanks to a few civic-minded developers, we were able to combine private resources and community passion to turn a deteriorating public asset into a wonderful neighborhood refuge. A personal thanks to our District Manager, Penny Ryan, whose undaunted optimism saw this project through many years and many ups and downs. The result is nothing less than miraculous.”

Gertrude Ederle Playground, built as a part of a master plan for the site, abuts the recreation center of the same name. Formerly known as Recreation Center 59, the facility has been a vital community resource since the early 20th century. The site was purchased for use as a playground by the City in 1906. Soon thereafter, the 60th Street Bathhouse opened on site. By 1942, the park had expanded to its present size.

In 2009, the recreation center closed for reconstruction to provide state of the art building upgrades. Upon reopening in 2013, the name of the center changed to celebrate Gertrude Ederle. Born to German immigrants in New York City on October 23, 1905, Ederle was a Gold-Medal Olympian and World Record holder in swimming; known to be the first woman to swim across the English Channel and the first female to have a ticker tape parade in her honor in New York City. President Calvin Coolidge praised her as “America’s Best Girl.”

Directions to Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center


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