Seward Park (Manhattan)

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Seward Park
Seward Park, NYC (WTM sheila 0017).jpg
Playground at Seward Park
LocationBounded by Cooperative Village, East Broadway, and Essex Street, New York, NY 10002
Nearest cityNew York City
Coordinates40°42′53″N 73°59′22″W / 40.71472°N 73.98944°W / 40.71472; -73.98944Coordinates: 40°42′53″N 73°59′22″W / 40.71472°N 73.98944°W / 40.71472; -73.98944
Area3.046 acres (12,330 m2)
DesignerThe Outdoor Recreation League
EtymologyNamed after William Henry Seward
Operated byNYC Parks
WebsiteNYC Parks website

Seward Park is a public park and playground in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City north of East Broadway, east of Essex Street. It is 3.046 acres (12,330 m2) in size and is the first municipally built playground in the United States.[1][2]


The Seward Park Branch of the New York Public Library

The park is named for William Henry Seward, a United States Senator from New York who served from 1849–1861 and later went on to be Secretary of State in the Lincoln administration. The park was built on a condemned piece of property purchased in 1897. New York City lacked the funds to do anything with it, so The Outdoor Recreation League (ORL),[3] a playground and recreation advocacy group that built playgrounds in the undeveloped parks using temporary facilities and equipment, built the park[4] as the first permanent, municipally built playground in the United States.[5]

Opened on October 17, 1903, it was built with cinder surfacing, fences, a recreation pavilion, and children's play and gymnastic equipment. A large running track encircled the play area and children's garden. The park became a model for future playground architecture.

The Seward Park Branch of the New York Public Library was built in the southeastern part of the park.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the park was reconstructed and a piece of land was returned to the City.[6] The Schiff Fountain, donated by Jacob H. Schiff, was moved from a nearby park and placed in Seward Park.[7] In 1999, Seward Park was renovated again, and some of the original 1903 plans were restored.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Seward Park". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  2. ^ "Happy Birthday! Seward Park celebrates 100 years". The Villager. October 22–28, 2003. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Playgrounds and Public Recreation (1898–1929)". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  6. ^ Flickr Photo and History
  7. ^ Riis, Jacob A. (1902). "Chapter 11: Letting in the Light". The Battle with the Slum. New York: MacMillan Company. Retrieved July 24, 2011.

External links[edit]