Place Category: Parks and Playgrounds
Originally named after the nearby Cross Island Parkway, this playground now honors the memory of community activist Pat Williams (1936-1990).
Pat Williams was born in Santa Rosa, California in 1936. After attending a local high school she obtained a degree as a registered nurse. She traveled around the country with her husband, who was in the Air Force, before finally settling in New York when his service ended in the 1970s. In New York, Mrs. Williams worked as a computer operator and belonged to a number of community organizations, including the 105th Precinct Community Council, voter registration groups, and the Order of the Eastern Star. She used her home as a base for the Concerned Citizens for a Safe Queens Village and worked closely with the Queens District Attorney’s office to combat local drug dealing.
Pat Williams’s personal involvement in the community was legendary, as she raised money, purchased equipment, and organized events for the various organizations she was involved in. Her efforts against local drug dealing proved successful, and once again people flocked to playgrounds and parks.
This playground is located at the intersection of 224th Street, Hempstead Avenue, and the Cross Island Parkway in Queens Village. When the plans for the construction of the Cross Island Parkway were announced in February 1930, Arterial Coordinator Robert Moses (1889-1981) announced the creation of a series of “ribbon parks.” Parks, playgrounds, and walkways were constructed not only to ease the impact of the Parkway on the community, but also to spur residential growth. The community of Queens Village changed from a largely agricultural settlement to an important suburb because of the openings of the local Long Island Railroad station in 1923, and the Cross Island Parkway in 1940.
Parks acquired the land for this playground in February 1939 in conjunction with the construction of the Cross Island Parkway. In 1998 Council Member Archie Spigner sponsored a $380,350 project to renovate play equipment, safety surfacing, and fencing. Today the playground contains a full basketball court, play equipment with safety surfacing, a flagpole with a yardarm, and swings.
- pat williams playground
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