Parks Dept. redesigns, expands playground at Broadway Junction

November 18, 2023 From NYC Parks Department
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EAST NEW YORK — NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue on Thursday joined Chief Public Realm Officer Ya-Ting Liu, Councilmember Sandy Nurse, Department of Transportation Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray, NYC Economic Development Corporation Executive Vice President for Planning Jennifer Sun and members of the community to celebrate the full reconstruction of Callahan-Kelly Playground, adjacent to the Broadway Junction transit hub at the border of Beford-Stuyvesant and East New York.

The revamped park features new fitness equipment and children’s play structures, landscape improvements, a block of new accessible parkland on a former street and more. 

The $21.6 million renovation project has completely redesigned the park with new amenities for all ages. In addition to an upgraded children’s play area, the city Parks Department has installed a brand-new skate park, game tables, revamped basketball courts, a state-of-the-art synthetic turf field, modern fitness equipment and new ping pong tables. 

The renovated 3-acre park also includes two new dog runs and additional shade structures, seating and plantings.   

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Looks like a lively half-court basketball game at the revamped Callahan-Kelly Playground. Parks Dept. photo by Malcolm Pinckney

As part of the project, Parks expanded the usable park space by permanently closing a block-long segment of Sackman Street, better connecting the park and providing more opportunities for Brooklynites to use the new and improved amenities. 

The Broadway Junction subway station, also known as “Broadway-East New York,” is served by the A,C, J, Z and L trains. It is also near the Long Island Rail Road’s East New York station.

“Thanks to this $21.6 million redesign, the revamped Callahan-Kelly Playground is now a destination that New Yorkers of all ages can safely enjoy for decades to come, with upgraded play equipment for kids, a brand-new skate park, state-of-the-art athletic amenities, and even two new dog runs,” said New York City Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. 

Sue Donoghue, NYC parks commissioner, speaks at the ribbon-cutting event for the reconstructed Callahan-Kelly Playground. Parks Dept. photo by Malcolm Pinckney

“I am so excited for Brooklynites to experience this enhanced greenspace, including the extra block of parkland that we’ve reclaimed from street traffic. This is such a wonderful start to the major investments that the city is making in the Broadway Junction transit hub,” Donoghue said.  

“Callahan-Kelly Playground is open for business! This is an exciting milestone for all the Bed-Stuy, East New York, and Brownsville residents who have access to this beautiful greenspace starting today, and representative of the Adams administration’s broader commitment to this neighborhood and to delivering park space across the city,” said Chief Public Realm Officer Ya-Ting Liu. 

“This is only the beginning of a significant investment of nearly $500 million in improvements to the Broadway Junction station and area; I look forward to continuing our efforts to deliver here and in all five boroughs,” she added. 

After more than three years of community engagement and planning studies, the East New York Neighborhood Plan and rezoning was approved in April 2016. 

These dogs, taking advantage of a new dog run, show their approval of the reconstructed Callahan-Kelly Playground. Parks Dept. photo by Malcolm Pinckney

The rezoning included an $18.2 million commitment to transform Callahan-Kelly Playground from an underutilized park and play space into a multi-generational destination playground and neighborhood gateway. The remaining $3.4 million was provided through additional mayoral funding.  

In May 2023, Mayor Adams announced a plan to invest an additional $500 million in public realm and infrastructure improvements at and around Broadway Junction. The plan centers upon this project and is slated to expand the usable open space at Callahan-Kelly Playground by adding a new public plaza. 

“The opening of Callahan-Kelly Playground marks one significant revitalization of many to come in the Broadway Junction area. As one of the busiest transit hubs in the city, it is important to provide the community with usable open space for all generations. 

“We are looking forward to seeing this neighborhood come to life as more investments come online and contribute to a vibrant, inclusive, and globally competitive economy for all New Yorkers,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Andrew Kimball, formerly CEO of both Industry City and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Marty Maher, Brooklyn parks commissioner, addresses the crowd. Parks Dept. photo by Malcolm Pinckney

“As we navigate through significant changes in our community, Callahan-Kelly Playground stands as a testament to the profound impact open spaces can have on our morale and sense of community. In a city constantly evolving, every New Yorker deserves a haven for connection and respite,” said Council Member Sandy Nurse, who represents the area. 

“We are thrilled to witness the success of Callahan Kelly Playground, a space that embodies the essence of community and serves as a vital refuge for all,” she added.

 “The new and improved Callahan-Kelly Playground will be a tremendous asset to the neighborhood for years to come. Open space investments like these are an important component of the East New York Neighborhood Plan, and just one way that the City is following through on rezoning commitments to support a healthy, affordable, and resilient community,” said Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick. 

Throughout the design process, the Parks Department has worked closely with MTA on their Broadway-Junction Subway Station ADA upgrade project. As part of MTA’s future work, Parks and the MTA are collaborating to build a new public restroom within the park.  

Callahan-Kelly Playground, acquired by the city in 1938, is named for William E. Callahan and Edward E. Kelly, both local soldiers who died during World War I. Callahan’s younger brother Thomas worked to keep their memory alive by organizing a local American Legion post, the Callahan-Kelly Post, and 25 years later this playground was named in their honor. 

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