Historic Playgrounds: Seward Park, NYC

Posted on: August 22nd, 2013 by Paulina Tam

This week's installment on historic playgrounds comes to you from the Big Apple, where editorial intern Paulina Tam reports on Seward Park in New York City’s Lower East Side (more history after the jump!):

Back in the 1900s, numerous crammed tenement housings surrounded the Park’s vicinity. The over-crowdedness presented problems for children and adults who had no space to rest, play, and enjoy their neighborhood.

The Outdoor Recreation League, an organization that supported the construction of parks from unused property, changed all that by taking the initiative to transform a condemned piece of property located by the tenements into the playground now known as Seward Park.

 Park. Credit: Paulina Tam.
Seward Park

Following the park’s opening in 1906 were a series of renovations in the 1930s and '40s to improve Seward Park and satisfy its visitors’ wants. The famous Schiff Fountain, now left unattended, was donated in 1936, the same year where the Park’s Pavilion was demolished to make way for large areas competent of hosting basketball and roller skating games.

A more current renovation is the creation of a co-ed water foundation and marble mosaic map located in the middle of the park in 1999. Although it shares some of the Schiff Fountain’s deteriorating state, it is engraved with quotations by local residents who once lived in the neighborhood.

Seward Park. Credit: Paulina Tam.
Quotes from local residents set in stone

Visit Friends of Seward Park for more information on current preservation efforts at the playground.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Paulina Tam

Paulina Tam

Paulina Tam is an intern at Preservation magazine as well as the Features Co-Editor of The Observer at Fordham University. A WWII and aviation fanatic, she maintains a growing collection of WWII model airplanes that accompanies her hometown writing station.

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