NEWTOWN PLAYGROUND AND CEMETERY

92-02 56th Avenue
1935, renovated in 1997

As early as 1730, the land now comprising Newtown Playground was used as a cemetery. The peak of its use was from about 1825 to 1840, after which it gradually lapsed into neglect. From around 1850 onward, it began to be used as a potter’s field. In 1890, it was closed and cleaned-up but by 1897, the old ground was again in poor condition. In 1898, the newly-consolidated City of New York acquired the land and placed it under control of the Department of Parks in 1917, which started development of the playground in 1934 and opened it the following year. The playground underwent renovation work in 1997, redesigning it and updating facilities for contemporary users. Open lawn areas were created over archeologically sensitive areas, and the original cemetery wall was reconstructed with traditional materials. A ring of weeping cherry and beech trees were planted to memorialize the mostly-anonymous townspeople still buried in Newtown Cemetery.

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