Posts Tagged ‘Manhattan playgrounds’

Strange names for some city playgrounds

January 17, 2011

On 17th Street and Avenue C east of Stuyvesant Town is a little spit of land called “Murphy’s Brother’s Playground.”

So who was Murphy and why did his brother get a playground named after him?

It goes back to when this area was part of the old Gas House District and Tammany Hall ruled Manhattan politics.

John J. Murphy was the son of poor Irish immigrants who made a fortune in construction in the late 19th century and became a local politician.

But he owed a lot of his good fortune to his brother, a local saloon keeper and eventual bigwig at Tammany Hall named “Silent Charlie” Murphy.

In 1985, what was then Murphy Park underwent a name change to acknowledge Silent Charlie.

Though why Parks officials didn’t use his actual name is a mystery. Who wants to only be known as someone’s brother?

Poor Richard’s Playground, on Third Avenue and 108th Street, is a nod to the Poor Richard of Poor Richard’s Almanac, aka Benjamin Franklin.

Why pay homage to Ben Franklin? The playground is next to the city-owned Benjamin Franklin Houses.