East New York

Brooklyn’s new 407-acre Shirley Chisholm State Park to receive $20 million

April 25, 2019 Scott Enman
Funding will go toward building hiking and biking trails, waterfront access for kayaking. Renderings courtesy of Gov. Cuomo's office

A massive 407-acre park in East New York, the third largest in Brooklyn and the largest state park in New York City, will receive $20 million from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to build green space, community gardens and recreational centers.

The new Shirley Chisholm State Park, named after the trailblazing former Brooklyn U.S. representative, is expected to open this summer. Funding will go toward building hiking and biking trails, waterfront access for kayaking, a shaded pier, picnic areas, concessions, comfort facilities, signage and a park office.

The investment is part of the state’s 2020 Enacted Budget, which includes $110 million for parks across the entire state.

“State parks are central to New York’s thriving tourism economy and millions of New Yorkers turn to these world-class natural treasures each year for fun, exercise and community engagement,” Cuomo said.

“This significant investment will help enhance and modernize our cherished State Parks while promoting healthy outdoor recreation, preserving our environment and lifting up local economies.”

The new park in East New York will be the third largest park in Brooklyn after Marine Park and Prospect Park.
The new park in East New York will be the third largest park in Brooklyn after Marine Park and Prospect Park. Rendering courtesy of Gov. Cuomo’s office

In addition to a park named in her honor, Chisholm will also be receiving a commemorative statue in Prospect Park.

Chisholm grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and became the first African-American woman elected to office in Albany. She was also the first woman elected to Congress, and in 1972, she became the first woman to run for president in the Democratic Party — and the first black woman to run in either party. Her trademark slogan was, “Unbought and unbossed.”

“New York parks are jewels around our state that improve the quality of life for residents and offer great services and experiences,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

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“Additionally, the park honoring the accomplishments of Shirley Chisholm is a great way to recognize this trailblazing and glass-ceiling shattering New Yorker,” she added.

The massive green space will sprout along Jamaica Bay’s shores.
The massive green space will run along Jamaica Bay’s shores. Rendering courtesy of Gov. Cuomo’s office

The new park in East New York will be the third largest park in Brooklyn after Marine Park (798 acres) and Prospect Park (526 acres), both of which are operated by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

In comparison, Central Park boasts 843 acres, while Brooklyn Bridge Park offers only 85.

The massive green space will run along Jamaica Bay’s shores on the former Pennsylvania Avenue and Fountain Avenue landfills in East New York.

The area, which has never been open to the public, was operated by the New York City Department of Sanitation from 1956 to 1983, before it was deeded to the National Park Service as part of the Gateway National Recreation Area in 1974.

Shirley Chisholm State Park will be the second state park opened by Cuomo in the five boroughs. Photo courtesy of the Governor's office.
Shirley Chisholm State Park will be the second state park opened by Cuomo in the five boroughs. Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office. 

State Parks operates a total of eight parks in New York City. The only other state park in Brooklyn is the modest 11-acre East River State Park in Williamsburg, primarily known for its expansive views of the Manhattan skyline.

The Shirley Chisholm State Park will be the second state park opened by Cuomo in the five boroughs. The governor also dedicated the four-acre Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island in 2012.

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.

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