Place Category: Parks and Playgrounds
Bay Terrace Playground is named for the surrounding neighborhood of the same name. The earliest known inhabitants of Bay Terrace were the Matinecock Native Americans, a tribe of the Algonquin nation. The tribal name Matinecock, meaning “hilly country,” described the surrounding landscape, an area that may have been given to the tribe by the neighboring Lenapes.
In 1639, Dutch Governor Willem Kieft (1597-1647) purchased the land that today encompasses Queens County from the Matinecock. William Lawrence (1622-1680), who served as a magistrate under Dutch and English administrations, was granted a parcel of land by King Charles II in 1645 that included a large portion of what is today Bayside, in addition to College Point, Whitestone, and Fort Totten. Bayside began its course of development from an agricultural community to a suburb when the North Shore Railroad was extended in 1866. During the following several decades, the Bayside Land Association purchased farms for development. Bay Terrace, originally included within the bounds of Bayside, remained composed of farms and large estates until the 1950s, when Cord and Charles Meyer sold their 225-acre farm for development.
Bay Terrace Playground, located at the northeast corner of 212th Street and 23rd Avenue, adjacent to P.S. 169 (Bay Terrace School), is jointly operated by the Board of Education and Parks. It opened in 1962 to meet the increased needs of the school and the rapidly growing surrounding community. Formerly known as P.S. 169 Playground, Parks changed the name to Bay Terrace Playground in 1985. In 1995, Mayor Giuliani appropriated $129,300 for the reconstruction of play equipment and safety surfacing at the playground. Today, the playground contains two handball courts, a basketball court, a concrete porpoise sculpture, a spray shower, a comfort station, benches and game tables, swings, two play units, and a flagpole with a yardarm.
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