Brooklyn Boro

State halts controversial construction on Marsha P. Johnson Park

Family speaks out

March 8, 2021 Clark Adomaitis
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Construction at Marsha P. Johnson State Park has been stopped temporarily after a Brooklyn Community Board 1 Parks Committee meeting where Marsha’s family members shared their grief on a public forum. Local environmental activists have been fighting against the reconstruction of the former East River State Park in Williamsburg.

The halted construction includes covering a lot in a large, colorful thermoplastic (the paint used for road markings) mural, huge foam core flowers, and sheds to honor the LGBTQ civil rights activist. The $14 million project is sponsored by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Activists have been petitioning against the issue for two months since construction began.

On Thursday, the Parks Committee of Brooklyn Community Board #1 met to discuss the situation to hear from those concerned. The family of Johnson attended the meeting to express their issues about the project. James Carey, cousin of Marsha, spoke about how his family was not included in the discussion of the construction.

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“I personally feel this was a mass deception campaign and our family was deceived… no one will be trying to exploit my cousin’s name without consulting with my family,” said Carey.

Anika Dorsey Good, Marsha’s great-niece, continued: “We are very saddened, I would almost say disgusted by the lack of transparency that has taken place.”

Carey had connected with Parks executives last year, but they failed to follow up. “I sent correspondences to the governor personally to let him know that our family as a whole we’re happy that you’re naming the park in the memory of our family member, however, please when the occasion arises, please include us,” he said.

The following day, Matthew McMorrow, Statewide Director of LGBTQ Affairs, wrote “construction has been halted,” in a letter to the Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform, according to the Brooklyn Paper. However, the future of the renovation plans are still unclear.

State Senator Brian Kavanagh, Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, and City Councilmember Stephen Levin showed their support for the issue. They sent a letter to Commissioner of NYS Parks Erik Kulleseid urging him to halt construction. “We write to request that you suspend construction activity for this project,” the letter read.

“It just goes to show what we know about Cuomo in general is that he makes the decisions without necessarily other people’s approval,” Assemblymember Emily Gallagher told the Brooklyn Paper. “I really want to honor Marsha P. Johnson and her family members and trans activists should be fully involved in this.

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  1. George Plagianos

    I’m just read this article I haven’t learned anything specific about what the park was supposed to look like. And why all the brouhaha. Why is it so complicated well then just tell us the specifics. Everyone’s upset with the governor. So this extra caviar comes out to show that Cuomo has control over everything
    That we know. Like Henry Kissinger once said that” power is a like an aphrodisiac”.. sadly this article explains nothing it just generalizes nothing specific is said what the family didn’t like about the project except that they were never included in the planning .. why after all this time. Don’t remember gay newspapers bringing up the dismay of this family about the project. I knew Marshall Johnson back from the seventies when I just came out in my twenties..I knew Marsha from the” Firehouse” at 99 Wooster Street the headquarters of the Gay Activist Alliance headquarters in lower Manhattan in 1974.. I have some my video footage used in the documentary of Marsha. It just came out about 4 years ago.. I hope they straighten this out be inclusive with the family and get this project done with so people can enjoy and no the life and struggle of Marshall all the trans people who could suffer the same fate as Marsha if we don’t stop the violence

  2. Hellena Maar

    Stormé DeLarverie, a lesbian woman of color, IGNITED THE RIOTS AT STONEWALL, or “THREW THE FIRST BRICK.” MARSHA P JOHNSON DID NOT EVEN ARRIVE AT THE SCENE UNTIL MUCH LATER. Where is Stormé’s recognition? Her mural? Her Google doodle? Her anything? Have you even heard of her? This twisting of history is horrendous.

  3. Mattew Poole

    I know that the safety rules aren’t always followed — even by ourselves. I absolutely agree that communication and safety training are key to preventing any accidents. Local Law 196 of 2017 created new requirements for construction site safety training courses