SPURA: Seward Park
Seward Park itself sits in the corner of a triangle formed by Essex Street, East Broadway and the Seward Park Houses. The city acquired the land for Seward Park by condemnation in 1897 but left the site unimproved until the Outdoor Recreation League (ORL) included the park with the nine privately-sponsored playgrounds they opened between 1898 and 1902. Seward Park opened in the north corner of the park on October 17, 1903 as the country's first municipally-built playground.
The playground was a prototype for other playgrounds around the city and country with cinder surfacing, fences, a recreation pavilion, and play and gymnastic equipment. The 1903 park design also incorporated a large running track, a children's farm garden and a terra cotta pavilion with marble baths, a gymnasium and meeting rooms. The park was largely rebuilt in 1941 with facilities for basketball, horseshoe-pitching, and shuffleboard courts, and a large paved area adaptable for roller skating, paddle tennis, and ice skating. (NYCGovParks.org).
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