New Greenpoint park honors memory of war hero
Greenpoint’s Sgt. William T. Dougherty Playground, once reduced to rubble during construction on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Kosciuszko Bridge, is finally open again.
The new playground, officially opened Monday, is part of the larger $12 million Kosciuszko Bridge replacement project and includes a new skate park, basketball and handball courts, a children’s play gym, a comfort station and seating areas.
The park’s namesake, Sgt. William T. Dougherty, was a U.S. Army Soldier who was killed during the battle of Saipan in the South Pacific during World War II. Dougherty’s family joined elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Assemblymember Joe Lentol, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday.
Kevin and Gary Harrigan, nephews of Sgt. Dougherty, held a flag that was given to the family after Sgt. Dougherty was killed.
Gary Harrigan said that when he served in the Navy, he served aboard the U.S.S. Saipan. “My mother didn’t want me to serve aboard that ship,” he said of the Tarawa-Class Amphibious Assault Ship. “I was actually proud to be serving on that ship.”
Dougherty was posthumously awarded both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service, and the playground was dedicated to his memory in 1948.
The entire park was leveled, reduced to gravel and construction debris, during the construction of the western portion of the Kosciuszko Bridge. The state later purchased a nearby warehouse in order to expand the park.
Skateboarders were already on the new ramps during the ceremony.
“It’s a great park, and I hope to get a lot of use out of it,” skater Tyhim Morris Brown said. “I think the community will love this place.”
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