New York playgrounds named after celebrities

HarryChapinplaygroundBeastie Boy Adam Yauch, who died last year at age 47, isn’t the only musician to have a New York playground named in his honor.

Not far from his namesake park on Atlantic Avenue is Harry Chapin Playground, at Columbia Heights and Middagh Street.

Like Yauch, Chapin grew up in Brooklyn Heights. And just as Yauch spent his childhood playing at the park eventually named for him, so did Chapin.

Harry Chapin Playground was dedicated to the singer in 1987, six years after his life was cut short when the car he was driving on the Long Island Expressway collided with a truck.

How the west side of Central Park, at 81st Street, ended up with a Diana Ross Playground is an entirely different story.


According to this 1984 People article, Ross “had a dream” to create a playground for kids in the park. She planned to build it with cash raised from her July 1983 free concert on the Great Lawn. But after the show, she told the city she didn’t make any money.

Eventually, Ross put in $275,000 to fund the playground, which opened in the late 1980s.

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3 Responses to “New York playgrounds named after celebrities”

  1. Frank Lynch Says:

    I’d like to point out that I run a pool on Flickr called “Named After People.”

    Nottingham, Sir John Borlase Warren

    Anyone who wants to contribute shots of playgrounds, parks, schools and such — named after people other than themselves — is welcome. Ford automobiles aren’t welcome, but Edsels are (he didn’t name them.)

  2. nabeguy Says:

    I grew up around the corner from Harry, who occasionally babysat me and my siblings. I never thought playing in that park as a child that it would one day be named after him. By the time my own daughter was playing there, she knew it by no other name (although she used to call it “Chapman Park”)

  3. 7 Places In NYC Named After Famous Musicians | Untapped Cities Says:

    […] Photo via Ephemeral New York […]

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