Bronx New Deal - Photo #718 - Watson-Gleason Playground

Watson-Gleason Playground in the Southeast Bronx. “In 1938 the City of New York acquired the entire block bounded by Watson, Noble, Gleason, and Rosedale Avenues [see map]. Designed by the Parks Department and built with labor provided by the Work Projects Administration (WPA), the playground opened one-and-one-half years later. Parks Commissioner Robert Moses presided at the dedication ceremony, which featured Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Borough President James J. Lyons, Acting WPA Administrator Major Edmond H. Leary, and President Roderick Stephens of the Bronx Borough of Trade.”[1]


  1. Watson Gleason Playground History, NYC Parks Department website.
  2. NYC Parks Dept press release of December 4, 1939: “ The Department of Parks announces the opening in The Bronx of three new playgrounds ... [one located at] Watson, Gleason and Rosedale Avenues ... The 3.3 acre Rosedale Avenue playground contains a separate children's area with a wading pool and basketball court, slides, see-saws, swings, sandpit, jungle gym and playhouses. The balance of the area provides eight shuffleboard courts, three softball diamonds, eight handball courts and a large asphalt roller-skating area ... The opening of these four areas designed by the Park Department and built by the Work Projects Administration makes a total of 306 new or reconstructed playgrounds completed by the Park Department since 1934.”
  3. New Deal Assistance in NYC Parks Department Projects, 1934-43. Note that when the press releases during this period say "designed by the Park Department", they are talking about architects, landscape architects, and engineers working for the WPA but assigned to the Parks Department.