Mario Lanza Park is an urban oasis located on the 200 block of Catharine and Queen Streets. A central meeting place for families, civic groups and dog lovers, the park features gorgeous vegetation, walkways, benches and a separate dog area on the southwest corner. The Friends of Mario Lanza Park keep the park clean and organize a wide range of events and activities.
This park was built on the site of the former Trinity Church (Episcopalian, 1821 -1908) and originally called Queen Street Park. In 1967 it was rechristened Mario Lanza Park in honor of South Philadelphia native and celebrity tenor Mario Lanza. Born Alfredo Cocozza in 1921 to Italian immigrant parents on Christian Street, Lanza achieved worldwide fame as a performer, recording artist and actor. Lanza's father was an opera-loving grocer, and young Mario paid for his opera training by moving pianos. The house at 636 Christian Street where Lanza was born is still standing, identified by a Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission (PHMC) marker. The Mario Lanza Institute and Museum, established in 1962 is housed in the former rectory of St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi at 712 Montrose Street, Lanza's childhood parish.