Monday, June 7, 2010

History of Duggan's Pond, Rego Park

From A Filthy Swale To A Swell Spot To Rest

By Historian Ron Marzlock, Queens Chronicle & Rego-Forest Preservation Council Blog contributor
From May 20, 2010 "I Have Often Walked" column

The former Duggan’s Pond at Woodhaven Boulevard and 63rd Drive, Rego Park in October 1938, after the city cleaned it up.

Duggan’s Pond — not really a pond at all but a trash-filled mud hole — was located at the corner of 63rd Drive and Woodhaven Boulevard. It occupied an oddly shaped triangle at a corner where Rego Park meets Middle Village. The so-called pond filled up when it rained and also was used as a popular dumping spot.

The city had acquired the site on Nov 11, 1920 from the Matawok Land Company for use by the Parks Department. It went downhill from there.

On May 27, 1931 the Rego Park Democratic Club sent a letter to the Queens health commissioner requesting that the depression be filled up immediately due to safety and health hazards. The city complied, leveling the ground and leaving the hundreds of discarded bottles at the bottom sealed up forever.

In 1938, only 18 years after the city originally purchased the site, it was finally graded, planted, and provided with study park benches for the local residents. The benches looked across the street just a few feet to the Horseshoe Barbecue Restaurant, which looked like a circular rocket ship prop out of Buck Rogers. That spot later became a Carvel, then a Westsons, Nathan’s and finally Dunkin’ Donuts. The triangle remains, well-appreciated as a safe haven to sit, rest, read, or just watch the day go by.