P.O. David Willis Basketball Court
This basketball court is dedicated in honor of Police Officer David Willis (1964-1995). Born in Brooklyn on September 10, 1964 and raised in the Farragut Houses, Willis attended All Saints School in Brooklyn and Beach Channel High School in Queens. He pursued his interest in oceanography at the University of New England and later at LaGuardia Community College. A member of the National Guard from 1982 to 1988, Willis completed his military service in Texas.
Willis graduated from the Police Academy in 1991, at which time he joined the NYPD 10th precinct on 20th Street in Chelsea. In patrolling Chelsea Park, he developed a good relationship with the adults and children who used the park. In his off-duty hours, Willis also frequented the basketball courts, where he enjoyed watching and playing with fellow officers and young people.
Officer Willis's life was tragically cut short when his police vehicle was hit by a truck on West 30th Street and 11th Avenue while he was responding to a report that shots had been fired on 28th Street. He died two days later, on September 25, 1995. On July 25, 1996, Mayor
Willis Basketball Court is located in Chelsea Park on West 28th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. Since Parks first acquired the property in 1906, Chelsea Park has been an open space for sports and games. The first playground on the site opened in 1910 as a space for leisure and exercise for residents of the crowded tenement district. Competitions organized by the newly formed Board of Recreation drew thousands of spectators and participants.
After a major reconstruction project,
Chelsea Park reopened in 1940 for
year-round use with the addition
of three basketball courts, three
handball courts, softball diamonds
with flood lighting, a horseshoe
court as well as asphalt surfaces for
rollerskating and hockey. The grounds
of P. S. 33 were assigned to Parks in
1952, further expanding the park site.
In the mid-1990s, the playground and
basketball courts were restored. The
park is one of the most popular and
widely used in lower Manhattan.
Erected by NYC Parks.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Parks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical date for this entry is September 25, 1995.
Location. 40° 45.006′ N, 74° 0.017′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Chelsea Doughboy Statue (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Chelsea WW I Memorial (about 300 feet away); Church of the Holy Apostles (about 500 feet away); Hudson River Railroad (about 600 feet away); Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) (about 700 feet away); Lamartine Place Historic District (about 800 feet away); Charles Mary Kubricht (b. 1946) (approx. 0.2 miles away); Penn South Playground (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 10, 2021, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 34 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 10, 2021, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. 3. submitted on May 11, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. 4. submitted on May 10, 2021, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.