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Sunday, January 7, 2024

Raymond O'Connor Park: A Brief History and Overview

  Rajesh Kumar Rana       Sunday, January 7, 2024

Nestled in the heart of Bayside, Queens, Raymond O'Connor Park offers a vibrant oasis for residents of all ages. But beyond the swings and slides, this park holds a rich history, interwoven with the stories of the Matinecock people, World War heroes, and dedicated public servants.

Raymond O'Connor Park

Raymond O'Connor Park, Queens, NY
Raymond O'Connor Park, Queens, NY 

Before the Park:

The land where Raymond O'Connor Park now sits has a rich history. Prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 1600s, the Matinecock people inhabited the area. Later, the land became part of the Town of Flushing, and the first record of the town name "Bayside" appeared in the late 1790s. Throughout the 19th century, the area remained primarily rural farmland, with the specific parcel of land that is now the park remaining countryside until the 1920s.

Becoming a Park:

In 1931, the City of New York acquired the land through condemnation as part of a plan to create a public playground and thoroughfare. The following year, the park was named after Raymond O'Connor, a local journalist, war veteran, and public official.

The park's development continued in the following years. In 1933 and 1934, portions of the western side of the property were transferred to the Board of Education for the construction of Bayside High School. The remaining land was landscaped with lawns, trees, and sidewalks, and the playground officially opened in 1935.

Over the years, the park has undergone several changes and additions. In 1997, the wading pool was replaced with a modular play structure and a water spray area. Today, the park's defining feature is a central oval surrounded by mature trees, which now accommodates a turf athletic field.

Who Was Raymond O'Connor?

Raymond O'Connor was born in Saratoga, New York in 1892. He began his career as a reporter for the Queens County News and later served in World War I. After the war, he worked as an assistant to Borough President George Harvey. O'Connor died in 1931 at the age of 39, and the park was named in his honor in recognition of his service to the community.

Highlights of the Park:

  • Kennedy Playground: Named after Corporal William F. Kennedy, a Bayside resident who was killed in World War I.
  • Basketball Courts: Available for public use.
  • Playgrounds: Featuring equipment for children of all ages and abilities.
  • Public Restrooms: Located near Corporal Kennedy Street and 33rd Avenue.
  • Spray Showers: A fun way to cool down on hot days.

Visiting Raymond O'Connor Park

The park is located at 33 Ave. & 210 St in Bayside, Queens. Whether you're seeking a historical immersion, a place for your kids to play, or simply a serene escape from the city bustle, Raymond O'Connor Park has something to offer everyone. So, come explore its verdant paths, soak in its rich history, and create your own memories in this charming corner of Queens.


Raymond O'Connor Park is located in Bayside, Queens, at 33rd Avenue and 210th Street.

Additional Information:

  • Browse the NYC Parks Field and Court Map to see what's available at Raymond O'Connor Park.
  • Learn more about the history of New York City playgrounds.
  • Rules and Policies: No bicycles, skates, skateboards, or scooters. Pets are prohibited. Adults must accompany children at playgrounds.

Overall, Raymond O'Connor Park is a vibrant and historic green space in the heart of Bayside. It offers a variety of amenities for people of all ages to enjoy, making it a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

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