This playground’s name is derived from its position in relation to nearby Springfield Boulevard.
Originally part of the St. Albans community, Cambria Heights had been included in a 1655 land grant from the Director General of the New Netherland colony, Peter Stuyvesant (1610-1672). Consisting largely of marshlands, forests, and farms, the area remained a relatively rural well into the 20th century. At that time the area consisted of only two roads: Central Avenue, which is now Linden Boulevard, and Springfield Boulevard.
During the early 1920s, Oliver B. La Freniere, the owner and operator of a real estate and insurance business in East New York, began to develop a 163-acre parcel of land assembled from three of the area’s large farms into modern day Cambria Heights. As the community developed, residents organized the Cambria Heights Civic Association of St. Albans in the mid-1930s to push for new or improved firehouses, schools, transportation, and mail service. By 1945, almost 5,000 new homes had been built in the area. After World War II (1939-1945), the neighborhood’s population began to rise as a large number of African-Americans made homes in Cambria Heights.
The playground, originally known as the P.S. 147 Playground (after the adjoining public school), was renamed East Springfield Playground in 1985 by Commissioner Stern. Located on 115th Road between 218th and 219th Streets, the playground has been jointly operated by the Board of Education and Parks since its opening as P.S. 147’s playground in 1964. In 1998 a $130,000 contribution from Mayor Giuliani served to renovate the site’s play equipment. The playground contains game tables, play equipment, swings, a full-size basketball court, four handball courts, benches, a comfort station and a flagpole with a yardarm.
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