Brooklyn Just Got a New State Park

Just in time for summer, the Shirley Chisholm State Park is here.

Brooklyn Just Got a New State Park

This mural depicts Shirley Chisholm, whom the park is named after.

Photo by Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Yet another reason to go to Brooklyn: On July 2, the first phase of the 407-acre Shirley Chisholm State Park opened in the New York City borough along Jamaica Bay in East New York, with 10 miles of marked hiking and biking trails, free bike rentals, and a mural by artist Danielle Mastrion that celebrates Shirley Chisholm.

“As we open this beautiful park and open a whole new area of interest to generations of young people, right here in the backyard of Brooklyn, let us also remember the lesson and the moral of Shirley Chisholm, and fight the good fight,” said New York Governer Andrew Cuomo at an opening ceremony for the park, according to a transcript.

The first African American woman elected to Congress, Chisholm was born in Brooklyn in 1924 and represented its 12th Congressional District for seven terms. In 1972, Chisholm became the first African American woman to run for president. She passed away in 2005, but for her efforts to improve underserved communities, Chisholm was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 by then-president Barack Obama.

Situated on the site of former Pennsylvania and Fountain avenues landfills, the park sits up to 130 feet above sea level. To the northwest, the Empire State Building is visible; visitors can see the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and New York Harbor to the west; Jamaica Bay is on view to the south.

By 2021, the park’s second and final phase is slated for completion, which will include pop-up environmental educational facilities, open lawns, and a new, main entrance at Fountain Avenue.

With the opening, the Shirley Chisholm State Park becomes the newest and largest state park in New York City. Other state parks within the city limits include Bayswater Point State Park and Gantry Plaza State Park (both in Queens), East River State Park (Brooklyn), Clay Pit Ponds State Park (Staten Island), Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park (Manhattan), and Roberto Clemente State Park (the Bronx). The park is best reached by car.

>>Next: 11 Crowd-Free National Parks You Should Visit Instead

Katherine LaGrave is a deputy editor at AFAR focused on features and essays.
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