Place Category: Parks and Playgrounds
This playground, located at 155th Avenue between 84th and 85th Streets, is named in honor of Harold Schneiderman (1926-1985), a local resident who lived nearby. Born in Buffalo, Schneiderman lived the last 25 years of his life in Howard Beach, and was involved in a wide number of community and charitable organizations.
Schneiderman, owner of over a dozen supermarkets, was known for his work with the Order of Knights of Pythias, a national fraternal organization founded by Justus H. Rathbone in 1864—during the Civil War—to promote “Friendship, Charity, [and] Benevolence.” The Order draws many lessons from the story of the friendship between Damon and Pythias, historical characters who predated the Christian era by four hundred years. They were members of a school founded by Pythagoras, whose goal was the moral uplifting and purification of society. The Order held that the two most excellent acts were “to speak the truth and render benefits to each other.” At the suggestion of President Lincoln, the Order applied to Congress for a Charter, and became the first American Order ever chartered by an Act of Congress. As the District Deputy Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias, Schneiderman served on the Board of the Pythian Summer Camp for City Youth, and was one of the founders of the New York State Women’s Chapter of the Pythian Order.
Schneiderman was also known for his involvement with the local Little League. He participated regularly in the Cerebral Palsy Telethon, and contributed money to the Samaritan Village, Daytop Village, and Convenant House. After his death in 1985, the Cross Bay Utopia Lodge Knights of Pythias established the Harold Schneiderman Memorial Fund to continue his charitable work.
This playground is jointly operated by Parks and the Board of Education. Acquired by the City of New York through condemnation in 1958, the playground opened as Public School 232 Playground, the Linden Wood School, in 1964. In 1985, it was renamed Linden Wood Playground after the nearby residential development Linden Wood Gardens. Local Law number 96 of 1993, sponsored by councilman Walter Ward, renamed the site Harold Schneiderman Playground in honor of the community activist. The playground was officially re-dedicated in a ceremony in July 1994, which was attended by a crowd of elected officials and local residents including Schneiderman’s wife, Marion. In the spring of 2000, $42,000 of Mayoral funds were spent to renovate the playground. The playground now features new play equipment, asphalt, and safety surfacing, and serves as a place of recreation for the community as well as a tribute to a dedicated community leader.
- harold schneiderman playground
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