Vesuvio Playground is a 1,64-acre (2,600 m2) neighborhood park located on the corner of Thompson Street and Spring Street, off Prince Street, in SoHo, Manhattan, New York City.
It was named in the late 1990s after the nearby popular Vesuvius Bakery on nearby Prince Street, which was named after the Vesuvius Stratovolcano. In A.D. the volcano erupted. 79, destroying the Roman town of Pompeii. The park was named after the owner of the bakery; it could not be named after him because the Parks Department policy prohibited the name of the park to a living person.
The playground was purchased in pieces by the Parks and Recreation Department of New York City in 1929, 1930, and 1957. The park has basketball courts, handball courts, bowling alleys, a three-foot mini-pool, playgrounds, sandboxes, water fountains, spray showers, and public bathrooms. A 2,9 million dollar renovation of the park was completed in 2007.
Vesuvio Playground, formerly known as Thompson Playground, is named after the popular Italian bakery on nearby Prince Street. The bakery is owned by community leader Anthony Dapolito and has been family-run since it was founded in 1920. For decades, Dapolito has played an important role in the acquisition and development of open spaces in the Greenwich Village and SoHo Communities. Since 1955, he has been an active member of Community Board 2.
Land for this playground has been acquired in three parcels over the course of twenty-eight years. In 1929 and 1930 Parks bought two parcels on Thompson Street in the middle of the block. The playground was designed with a comfort station, swings, and benches arranged around a large central wading pool. In 1957 Parks extended the property south to Spring Street and west to Sullivan Street. This additional land was the site of a warehouse, two commercial garages, and two commercial and residential buildings, typical of the Little Italy-SoHo area.
Buildings were razed, and the entire playground was renovated. Improvements have extended the playground program from a lot for small children to a recreation facility for all ages. There was a spray shower at the wading pool site, more play equipment and ginkgo trees were added, and a new sandbox, handball courts, basketball courts, and Bocce courts were built. The mini-pool was installed at the end of the 1960s.
Outdoor pool hours are 11:00 a.m. By 7:00 p.m. Daily, with a pool cleaning break between 3:00 p.m. And at 4:00 p.m. Early bird and night owl lap swim hours are also available at selected locations. Outdoor pools (except mini pools) will be closed on Sunday 8 September 2019. Mini pools are going to close on Labor Day. When you head out to the pool, make sure you have a sturdy combination lock. It will keep your valuables safe, and make you feel more secure about your belongings by hitting the water.