Ditmas Park playground gets $1m facelift

ditmas park
Some of the new playground equipment at the Lt. Federico Narvaez tot lot.
Photo by Ben Verde

After years of flooding and defective playground equipment, a beloved Ditmas Park playground has finally received a $1 million facelift. 

“All of these children and new families that are here in the neighborhood can take advantage of this wonderful open space,” said local Assemblymember Robert Carroll. 

The Lt. Federico Narvaez Tot Lot on the corner Argyle Road and Cortelyou Road had been suffering from water pooling due to a malfunctioning drainage system, and aged jungle gym equipment that had to be fenced off when it was damaged. 

“I remember vividly, many years before when this tot-lot was in very bad condition,” said Councilmember Mathieu Eugene, who secured half of the funding for the renovation. “The children were playing there, and it was dangerous for them.”

Elected officials, community members, and NYPD officials cut the ribbon on the renovated playground on April 28.Photo by Ben Verde

Now, after an 18-month construction project, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the playground is finally back open to Ditmas Park youngsters, who’ve been starved for adequate nearby playgrounds for years.

“We have PS 139 right across the street, so I know it will get wonderful use,” Carroll said. 

The renovation brought new playground equipment, furnishings for 2-to-5 years olds, a new drainage system, new planting beds, decorative pavement, and wheelchair-accessible water fountains to the heavily used green space. 

The lot is named for NYPD Lieutenant Federico Narvaez, an officer at the 70th Precinct who was shot and killed in Flatbush in 1996. The playground, formerly known as the Argyle Tot Lot, was rededicated in his honor in 1997.