Play day: Digilio Playground reopens after $2.8M transformation

Whee!: Borough Park Councilman Kalman Yeger, left, tested out a new slide at McDonald Avenue’s just-reopened Digilio Playground, which sits in his district, during the space’s reopening-day festivities.
John McCarten

It’s a new day at this old playground.

Youngsters packed Kensington’s DiGilio Playground on Thursday after officials snipped a ribbon at the just-renovated fun zone following a roughly 14-month-long makeover, it’s first in 20 years, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation. And the refurbished recreation space, which boasts new amenities the whole family can enjoy, couldn’t have debuted at a better time, according to the city’s chief green thumb.

“With areas for adults to get fit and for children to play, and plenty of space to kick back and relax, this renewed public space is open just in time for summer,” Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said at the opening event.

The park now features new ramps, slides, swings, and poles to climb on for kids, as well as spray showers so the tykes can cool off after a long day of monkey business.

And the city installed fitness equipment and chess tables for adults, along with new furniture and shrubs that line the play space’s border to muffle sounds from the surrounding streets.

Former Borough Park Councilman David Greenfield — who essentially handpicked Councilman Kalman Yeger to succeed him last year after he resigned following a key deadline for competitors to register their campaigns — funded the entire $2.8-million makeover of the McDonald Avenue playground just inside his old district before he left office.

The renovation quadrupled the size of the park’s play area, Greenfield said, by extending it into space formerly occupied by an old roller-hockey rink that workers ripped out as part of the job.

“Together, we literally gutted and rebuilt the entire park,” the ex-pol said.

Construction on the park — named for Deputy Inspector Joseph Di Gilio, who ran the 70th Precinct back in the ’70s — began in May 2017, following a nearly four-year design phase.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Play time: Kids from Kensington’s Yeshiva Mevakshei Hashem tested out the new climbing poles.
Photo by Trey Pentecost

More from Around New York