La Guardia Playground Renovation Brings New Green Space to Brooklyn

Image credit: NYC Department of Parks & Recreation.

On August 19, 2022, NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue cut the ribbon on a $6.74 million renovation of La Guardia Playground, at 252 S 4th St., in South Williamsburg. She was joined by Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez, and community members and representatives from the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance and El Puente. The new developments are funded by NYC Parks’ Community Parks Initiative (CPI), which targets high-density, low-income spaces for green features and recreational spaces.

Local officials hope that the new design will bring in more playground visitors and improve both health and quality of life in the community. It is influenced by NYC Parks’ Parks Without Borders approach, and features include expanded entrances, improved sight lines, and a smoother transition between the playground and the perimeter sidewalk.

“When we create beautiful recreational spaces in our communities, people will come and use them,” said Borough President Reynoso, “It creates an opportunity for them to not just live and work in a community, but also enjoy it and make it their own.”


The playground includes two properties, and the renovation took place in two phases, but special care was taken to effectuate an impression of both portions as a single whole. Decorative work bridges the gap between the northern portion, which includes play equipment for kids and tots, and the southern portion, which is home to basketball and handball courts, an adult fitness area, and a rain garden to support stormwater management efforts. There are also seating areas in both halves, and the northern portion boasts new water play features for playground-goers of all ages.

The southern half was renovated first, followed by renovation of the northern half. The design also included a planted barrier to help screen the playground from nearby roadways and reduce the spread of nearby automobile emissions; these environmental considerations, as well as the rain garden, represent NYC Parks’ continuing commitment to sustainability and environmental consciousness.

“Every neighborhood deserves safe, welcoming, and high-quality parks,” said Commissioner Donoghue. “After a two-phase renovation, La Guardia Playground is now twice as nice!”

The Community Parks Initiative

Since it launched in 2014, NYC Parks’ Community Parks Initiative (CPI) has redesigned and rebuilt 65 parks now open to the public. La Guardia Playground, which is bisected by the elevated Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), was built in 1937 in parallel with the Williamsburg Bridge—a perfect candidate for CPI rebuilding. According to Council Member Gutiérrez, “These parks and playgrounds were constructed around the BQE by design. For decades, the Southside community has had to endure poor air quality and noise pollution because of decisions made generations ago that put our communities last.”

Beyond the 65 parks already completed as part of the CPI, renovations of two more are underway. In October 2021, $425 million in additional funding was baselined by the Mayor de Blasio. The focus is on areas particularly affected by COVID-19, but with 10 new CPI sites projected each year over the next 10 years, NYC Parks hopes to have a total of 167 parks and playgrounds reimagined by 2032.

“For too long there have been little to no meaningful investments to maintain our green spaces,” said Gutiérrez, “and I appreciate that the city and the Parks Department have prioritized these long needed improvements.”

By: Kyle Hunt (Kyle is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024.)


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.