“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Staten Island in Richmond County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Nicholas De Matti Playground

2.343 acres

Nicholas De Matti Playground Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Larry Gertner, June 19, 2013
1. Nicholas De Matti Playground Marker
Nicholas De Matti Playground is one of nine playgrounds that Parks built through a war memorial fund. They opened simultaneously on July 15, 1934. Nicholas De Matti was a Private, First Class, in Company K, 310th Infantry, 78th Division, and a Staten Island native. He died in action in the Mihiel Sector at St. North Thiaucourt, France on September 26, 1918, less than two months before the end of World War I (1914-1918).

In 1918, the War Memorial Fund was established to create a $1 million Memorial Arch to commemorate those killed in World War I. The organizers were forced to adjust their plans when they were only able to raise $210,000, and by 1922 the project was scrapped and the money was turned over to the City. The fund earned interest, growing to nearly $340,000 by 1934. Parks Commissioner Robert Moses (1888–1981), wishing to construct playspaces for children, convinced the remaining members of the War Memorial Committee to allow the funds to be used for playgrounds.

Parks received the War Memorial Fund on March 19, 1934, and, with additional funding from the Federal Temporary Emergency Relief Administration,
Nicholas De Matti Playground marker location image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Larry Gertner, June 19, 2013
2. Nicholas De Matti Playground marker location
at the Tompkins Avenue entrance.
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the nine playgrounds were constructed in less than four months. Each was equipped with a play area, wading pool, brick field house and comfort station, and flagpole. The legal decision that paved the way for Parks to build playgrounds stipulated that each property be dedicated as a war memorial and contain bronze tablets commemorating fallen soldiers. The nine War Memorial Playgrounds are scattered throughout the City; two are in Manhattan, two in Queens, two in Staten Island, two in the Bronx, and one in Brooklyn. The other War Memorial Playground on Staten Island is Austin J. McDonald Park, on Forest Avenue. The soldiers honored in the dedicated playgrounds were selected by various veterans’ organizations. This playground, which is located in the Rosebank section of Staten Island where De Matti lived, contains a bronze tablet honoring him.

The completion of these playgrounds was part of Moses’ drive to increase the number of playgrounds citywide. In 1934, his first year as Commissioner, Moses added nearly 40 playgrounds to the City’s existing 110: a 33% increase in one year alone. The dedication of the War Memorial Playgrounds occasioned an official ceremony led by Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia (1882-1947) and Commissioner Moses at William E. Sheridan Playground in Brooklyn. It was simultaneously broadcast to all the other playgrounds through an elaborate public address
De Matti Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Larry Gertner, June 19, 2013
3. De Matti Park
Inside the park, a 9/11 memorial.

In 1970, NYC Parks remodeled this park’s recreation center and installed a new basketball court and ballfield. At that time, its wading pool was relocated to MacArthur Park on Dongan Hills Avenue. The park’s safety surfacing was replaced in June 1995 through a requirements contract, and in 1997, a $108,000 project funded by Council member Jerome X. Donovan renovated the sidewalks, paths, and pavements.

In 2001, DeMatti Playground, located on Staten Island on Tompkins Avenue between Chestnut Avenue and Shaughnessy Lane, was included in a $216,000 allocation, also funded by Council Member Donovan, that refurbished the heating systems at several parks. Although a Memorial Arch never was built, DeMatti Playground stands as a fitting tribute to one of the thousands of soldiers, many still teenagers, who died before their time.

City of New York Parks & Recreation
Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor
Veronica M. White, Commissioner
December, 2001
Erected 2001 by City of New York Parks & Recreation.
Topics. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: Parks & Recreational AreasWar, World I. A significant day of the year for for this entry is May 31.
Location. 40° 36.901′ N, 74° 4.395′ W. Marker is in Staten Island, New York, in Richmond County. Memorial is
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on Tompkins Avenue south of Chestnut Avenue, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Staten Island NY 10305, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Rosebank 9-11 Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Garibaldi Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Rosebank Honor Roll (within shouting distance of this marker); St. Mary’s Church War Memorials (approx. 0.3 miles away); Saint Mary’s Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); Quarantine Boarding Station (approx. 0.6 miles away); Edgewater Village Hall (approx. 0.8 miles away); Arthur Von Briesen Park (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Staten Island.
Also see . . .  De Matti Park. Official NYC parks description. (Submitted on October 25, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 25, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 118 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 25, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.

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May. 18, 2022