The largest stretch of open space in the Lower East Side, this park caters to its wide variety of users by offering a diverse array of facilities and activities. Highlights include the Golden Age Center for senior citizens, a recently renovated synthetic turf soccer field, several playgrounds for kids, a vendor’s market and a roller-skating rink. Park facilities and security were greatly improved in 1996 with the completion of a 2.7 million dollar capital project which elevated the sunken park to street level and provided a new playground, basketball courts and sidewalks.

The parkland, named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt's mother, was acquired by the City in 1929 for the purpose of widening Chrystie and Forsythe Streets and building low-cost housing. Only later was the space set aside for "playgrounds and resting places for mothers and children." Its construction in 1934 was the largest park project on the Lower East Side since the acquisition of Tompkins Square Park a century earlier.