by Kevin Walsh

I found it a bit ironic that this shot of a portion of Rachel Carson Playground at Colden Street and Geranium Avenue at Kissena Corridor Park features so much pavement and concrete in the picture, since Rachel Carson (1907-1964) was a biologist and best selling author who sounded an early alarm about the deterioration of ideal conditions for wildlife to flourish. After earning a master’s degree in zoology from John Hopkins University in 1932, Carson began working for the United State Bureau of Fisheries as a radio show writer and was the first woman to pass the Civil Service test in 1936. While working at the Marine Biological Laboratories in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, she contributed articles to the Baltimore Sun and the Atlantic Monthly.

In 1941 she published her first book, Under the Sea-Wind, and her second, The Sea Around Us, remained at the top of the best seller lists for a year and a half from 1951-1952. These books remain staples of middle and high school reading lists. After moving to the coast of Maine and noticing detrimental effects of pesticides such as DDT on flora and fauna, she codified her findings in her final book, Silent Spring. It was a highly influential book that led to a DDT ban and the founding of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Rachel Carson died at the young age of 56.

The playground includes the Rachel Carson Ballfields, four handball courts, a basketball court, and a baseball diamond with chain link backstop, dugouts, and drinking fountains. In addition, the playground includes play equipment with safety surfacing, benches, a picnic area with tables, and a trellis. Rachel Carson Playground also features a flagpole with a yardarm, around which there are cement blocks with depictions of sea creatures, and the titles of Carson’s three books before Silent Spring to commemorate her life’s passion. The adjacent Silent Springs Playground is a tribute to her most influential work and now holds swings for tots and kids, benches, a game table, play equipment with safety surfacing, a spray shower, and a basketball court. [NYC Parks]

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Peter July 27, 2022 - 10:55 pm

Unfortunately I didn’t benefit from her crusades. DDT did a job on me, and now I am a real sickie.

Jim F July 28, 2022 - 12:08 pm

God bless Rachel Carson, but if the park had a great lawn instead of pavement we wouldn’t have been able to play roller hockey

therealguyfaux July 28, 2022 - 2:16 pm

Even more ironic is that there is a lake in Kissena Park which, in a bygone era, might have been a pretty good nesting place for disease-spreading skeeters but for the use of, e.g., DDT.

Life is full of trade-offs, I guess?


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