NYC - West Village: Downing Playground - Sir Winston Churchill Square
This garden and sitting area was named by Parks in honor of British Prime Minister Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, whose official residence, located at 10 Downing Street in London, shares the name of one of the bordering streets. Churchill’s mother, Jennie Jerome, was born in Brooklyn. Her father, prosperous financier Leonard Walter Jerome, opened the Jerome Park Racetrack in the Bronx in 1866, where the first Belmont Stakes was run.
Parks purchased this .05-acre parcel in 1943. The sitting area, designed by George Vellonakis, was rebuilt from 1998 to 1999 to incorporate garden spaces, a pedestal mounted armillary and a decorative, gated iron fence. The Bedford Downing Block Association continues to be an important force behind the maintenance and upkeep of Churchill Square, ensuring that it remains the peaceful oasis that it is now for years to come.