The Remodeled DeSalvio Playground ‘Unofficially’ Debuts
Six months after our last status report, DeSalvio Playground in Little Italy is now reactivated.
Even though the Parks Department hasn’t yet cut the ribbon on the remodeled park space, scrappy locals are already enjoying the amenities. Word on the street is that city employees over the weekend accidentally opened the gates too early. It didn’t take long for folks to flood in.
The overhauled playground at Spring and Mulberry Streets has been closed off to the public since 2017, when the $1.9 million rehab began. Reconstruction was a slog (it was supposed to last twelve months) thanks in large part to construction of the adjacent development at 75 Kenmare, which monopolized much of the playground space for a staging area. However, the push to upgrade DeSalvio is actually more than a decade in the making. Local organizations Bowery Babes, Friends of DeSalvio Playground, the Partnership for Parks, and the Citizens Committee of NYC have advocated for renovation since 2006.
The upgraded park includes a curved seating area, basketball court (with two hoops), jungle gym (atop rubber matting), and sprinklers.
Old timers from the neighborhood who used to play dominoes there were pleased to see the checkered tables returned. The park bench seating is popular with the lunch crowd, and is widely remembered as the location for the hysterical “artificial inspiration” sit-down scene between Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts in the Pope of Greenwich Village (1984).