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Mary Whalen Playground in Woodhaven, Queens Reopens

Mary Whalen Playground in Woodhaven, Queens Reopens

Mary Whalen Playground in Woodhaven, Queens, reopens after 10 months of renovation construction.

Mary Whalen Playground, located in the Woodhaven section of Forest Park, officially reopened June 3 after 10 months of construction, according to The Queens Tribune. After decades with little to no upgrades, Mary Whalen Playground, now fully renovated, was suffering from poor surface quality and fencing as well as outdated play equipment.

“Forest Park is very special. This is where I brought my kids when they were younger,” said Elizabeth Crowley, who provided $1.1 million for the $1.4 million project, at the celebratory ribbon cutting. “From the moment I became a council member, this community has been advocating for the restoration of Mary Whalen Playground.”

The priority of the restoration, according to Mitchell Silver, commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, was replacing play structures with newer, safer, and more modern and engaging equipment for local children. “These social spaces are outdoor living rooms where kids can get healthy and make friends,” Silver reasoned. “When you hear the sound of the children, that’s why we do what we do.”

In addition to a new and improved play surface, fencing, and equipment, the playground, now fit for both preschoolers and pre-teens, has a new drainage system, ADA accessible entrance, and more than two times as much greenery.

Mary Ann Keller and Virginia Peebles, daughters of Mary Whalen, who passed away in 1987 after devoting much of her life to improving Woodhaven, also attended the ceremony. Keller spoke to the crowd, thanking Crowley and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation “for a wonderful place for the kids to come and play.”

Recalling a phrase of her mother’s, Keller also said, “‘Wonderful Woodhaven, a haven in the city.’ And that’s exactly what Woodhaven is.”   

Main image: A climbing structure at Mary Whalen Playground
Daniel Avila/NYC Parks


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