Elected and city officials last week cut the ribbon on a $1.7 million reconstruction of Paul Raimonda Playground, located at 20th Avenue and 47th Street.
The redesign includes a centerpiece spray shower in the shape of a grand piano, paying tribute to piano manufacturers and neighborhood namesake Steinway and Sons.
“After a major tune-up, kids will be able to splash around this summer in a brand new piano-shaped spray shower that challenges their imaginations and pays homage to the neighborhood’s roots,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “Adults can enjoy brand new fitness equipment and take a break in the relocated sitting area with new plantings and benches.”
The goal of the project was to update existing equipment, including replacing the underused bocce court in favor of fitness equipment. The project also repaired the base of the flagpole and relocated the park’s seating area.
The reconstruction was funded by the City Council, which gave $800,000, and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who allocated $920,000 for the project.
This project marks the first improvements to the playground since 1995. It is one of many parks undergoing major changes in Astoria, including Astoria Heights Playground, Dutch Kills Park, Astoria Health Playground, Triborough Playgrounds and Bulova Park.
The playground is named after Paul Raimonda, an outspoken community leader in Long Island City. He attended P.S. 126 and Bryant High School, and later served four years in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was an active member of the Long Island Seneca Club during his youth.
“When you improve a park, you improve a neighborhood,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides. “I look forward to seeing children enjoy the new upgrades for many summers to come.”