Bronx New Deal - Photo #568 - Francis Lewis Park (Queens)

Francis Lewis Park in Queens... Yes I know, this is supposed to be a Bronx New Deal gallery, but I don't go to Queens enough to have a separate Queens gallery and anyway, this park is connected to the Bronx by the Whitestone Bridge (you can see Ferry Point in the Bronx on the other side of the water).

Like Ferry Point park, Francis Lewis Park was part of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge construction project, 1937-41. A New York Parks City Department press release on April 25, 1940, confirms that it was built by the WPA:

The Department of Parks announces that exercises in connection with the dedication of Francis Lewis Park, Third Avenue and 147 Street, Whitestone, Queens, will take place on Friday, April 26, at 3:30 P.M.

Mayor LaGuardia, Borough President Harvey of Queens, Charles U. Powell, Engineer in charge of the Queens Topographical Bureau, and Major Edmond H. Leavey, Deputy Work Projects Administrator, will participate as speakers.

Mrs, Ralph Stoddard, Regent of the Matinecock Chapter of the D.A.R., will present a bronze memorial plaque and a flag to the City; Mrs. Guy Forbes, great-great granddaughter of Francis Lewis, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and after whom the Park was named, will unveil the plaque. Park Commissioner Moses will act as chairman.

This ten acre park, fronting on the East River and acquired in part to provide the Queens terminus of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, has been developed mostly as a sitting park with winding paths and broad sloping lawns landscaped with trees and shrubbery. A playground with a brick comfort station, wading pool, handball courts, see-saws, slides, swings and a sand pit has been provided to care for the recreation needs of the neighborhood children.

Also, Whitestone Playground, between 15 Avenue and 20 Avenue and adjacent to the Whitestone Parkway, will be opened to the public at the above time. Two-thirds of this new 21 acre playground was formerly property of the Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity, and was known as the Whitestone Pumping Station. The abutting balance was acquired in connection with the acquisition of the Whitestone Parkway.

Here recreation facilities nave been provided for all age groups. There are three separate children's completely equipped playgrounds, handball, horseshoe pitching, shuffleboard and basketball courts, a full-sized hard ball and a soft ball diamond as well as a football and soccer field. There is also a large open play area which can be flooded and used for ice skating when sub-freezing temperatures permit.

The opening of these two areas designed by the Park Department and built by the Work Projects Administration makes a total of 323 new or reconstructed playgrounds completed by the Park Department since January 1, 1934. At that time there were 119 playgrounds in the five boroughs and at present there are 403.