William Sheridan Playground
William E. Sheridan Playground
This playground honors William E. Sheridan (1893-1918), a New York Police Officer who was killed in action during World War I.
Sheridan, a native of Hawley, Pennsylvania, moved to New York City in 1911 to seek employment, and joined the Police Department on October 22, 1917. He was assigned to the 82nd Precinct in Brooklyn, and, during his service there, received a commendation for an act of conspicuous bravery that left him with serious injuries requiring hospitalization.
Sheridan enlisted in the United States Army on May 29, 1918 and left for overseas duty on July 8, 1918, as a member of 313th Infantry, 79th Division, Company B. He died at the Battle of the Argonne from machine gun wounds on October 1, 1918, just 41 days before the Armistice and the end of World War I. Buried at Montfaucon in the Province of Avocourt, France, his body was shipped home to Pennsylvania two years later to be re-interred with full military honors. Sheridan was also included in the Honor Legion, having fulfilled that division’s slogan, “Until Death.” American Legion Post #1059, which includes members of the New York Police Department, is known as the William E. Sheridan Police Post in honor of this brave young man.
The City purchased this land for park purposes in 1934, and Adolf A. Berle, Jr. signed the deed as trustee of the War Memorial Fund, which donated the playground in Sheridan’s name. One of nine memorial playgrounds, it was dedicated on July 15, 1934. In 1969 Parks renamed this site De Diego Playground after P.S. 84, also known as De Diego School, which was built that year on the eastern portion of the playground. José De Diego (1866-1914) was a speaker of the House of Delegates of Puerto Rico and the leader of the Union Party there. Imprisoned on several occasions for his antimonarchic views, he began to practice law in Puerto Rico in 1891 after graduating from the University of Havana. Parks renamed the playground for Sheridan in 1997.
The Board of Education rebuilt this playground in 1970. Councilman Ken Fisher later sponsored a $500,000 reconstruction in 1998. The nautical-themed renovations included climbing equipment, a weathervane with a ship atop a refurbished comfort station, chess and checker tables, swings, benches and ocean-colored ground painting. A flagpole with a yardarm stands in the center of the playground in front of a north arrow rosette. Newly planted trees promise years of shade for this seaworthy playground, only blocks from the East River.