In the second half of the nineteenth century, Moritz Glauber immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia. By the early part of the twentieth century, he had established a 35-acre estate near the center of Staten Island.Glauber passed away in 1944 and the estate soon came into the hands of the City of New York. By the end of the decade, almost half of the estate was assigned to the New York City Housing Authority, who planned to use the land for a public housing project. This project, which consisted of 502 apartments, was completed in 1950 as the Todt Hill Houses.
While the name of the Todt Hill Houses complex refers to Staten Island's neighborhood of Todt Hill, the area is commonly associated with the community of Manor Heights. The housing complex is bordered to the north by Schmidts Lane, to the south by Westwood Lane, to the west by Manor Road, and to the east by Laguardia Avenue. On a parcel of land closest to Schmidts Lane, the New York City Housing Authority created Todt Hill Houses Playground. By 1958, however, they assigned this land, which consists of a little more than one acre, to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
In 1997, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Henry J. Stern, renamed their playground as Toad Hall Playground. The name "Toad Hall" comes from The Wind in the Willows, a children's book written in 1908 by Kenneth Graeme. It was the residence of one of the story's main characters.
Toad Hall Playground has many recreational facilities to be enjoyed not only by residents of the Todt Hill Houses complex, but also by those who live in the surrounding community. Included are basketball courts, handball courts, play units, a spray shower, and swing sets. Benches are scattered within the park for people to relax while the children play. Also within the park are a comfort station, a drinking fountain, and a flagpole.Posted by Anthony Licciardello on