The Parks Department has been working for months to give Charybdis Playground in Astoria Park a modern facelift, renovations that were completed last week.
Astoria Park was designated as an “Anchor Park” by the de Blasio administration. The Anchor Parks initiative supplied funding to one park in each borough. More than 750,000 New Yorkers live within walking distance of the five Anchor Parks.
Since 2016, Charybdis Playground has been undergoing a complete renovation. It includes rnew play equipment, children’s water play area, asphalt pathways, and new plantings.
“For more than a century, Astoria Park has been an anchor park,” explained Margaret Nelson, acting commissioner of the Parks Department, ahead of ribbon-cutting ceremony last week. “Since it’s development in 1913, families from Western Queens have come to this waterfront gem for a variety of activities.”
The project also opened park space that was previously only accessible through the pool area, which is only open in the summer, for year-long use. More equipment is slated to be installed in this section of the playground later this fall.
The playground renovation represents the second phase of the Anchor Parks project at Astoria Park. Previously, the city funded and oversaw the construction of a new track and field facility around the park.
A Charybdis is a sea monster from Greek mythology who was said to occupy the turbulent waters of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and Southern Italy.
The turbulent waters of the nearby Hell Gate Channel inspired former Parks commissioner Henry Stern to give the playground the name.
“Although this park is named after a scary sea monster, the reality is that the newly reconstructed Charybdis Playground is a truly safe and fun space that will serve the people of Astoria for decades to come,” said Borough President Donovan Richards.
Former councilman Costa Constantinides secured millions of dollars for the project while still in office.
“I used to take my son here and we used to have to wait for the swings because there was a line,” Constantinides said. “Even though we loved the playground, it had to grow into a larger space.
“To use a park metaphor, we planted this seed during my tenure and to see it grow into a full tree makes this a great day,” he added.