16 NYC parks renamed in honor of Black Americans

June 17, 2021

Credit: NYC Parks /Malcolm Pinckney

New York City this week renamed more than a dozen park spaces in honor of notable Black Americans. In every borough, select green spaces now bear the names of Civil Rights leaders, novelists, educators, LGBTQ+ leaders, and more. Last summer, the city’s Parks Department pledged solidarity with the Black community and announced plans to rename parks across the city to honor Black Americans who have local or national recognition. Since then, 28 park sites have been given a new name.

In addition to the 16 renamed parks announced on Wednesday, NYC Parks plans to rename Mullaly Park in the Bronx in honor of Rev. T. Wendell Foster, the first Black member of the City Council to represent the Bronx, in September 2022, in accordance with the agency’s policy of naming a site three years posthumous.

“These green spaces and park facilities are critical resources in the communities they serve and we want to ensure that they bear names that inspire pride, encourage meaningful discourse, and represent the people it serves,” NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said.

“For years we heard pleas from the community to rename Mullaly Park, and we are proud today to give it a name that celebrates the legacy of a man who spent his life committed to peace and human service. As we look toward the future, parks like Reverend T. Wendell Foster Park will serve as beacons of hope for all people.”

See the full list of newly named parks below:


  • Constance Baker Motley Recreation Center (formerly 54th Street Recreation Center)
  • Ralph Ellison Plaza (Riverside Park at 150th Street)
  • Percy E. Sutton Playground (Harlem Lane Playground)
  • Lorraine Hansberry Park (Hell’s Kitchen Park)


  • Lena Horne Bandshell (Prospect Park Bandshell)
  • James Forten Playground (Underhill Playground)
  • Sarah J.S. Tompkins Garnet Playground (Middleton Playground)


  • Rev. T. Wendell Foster Park & Recreation Center (Mullaly Park and Recreation Center)
  • Gil Scott-Heron Amphitheater (St. Mary’s Amphitheater)
  • Kwame Ture (West Bronx Recreation Center)
  • Mabel Hampton Garden (Morris Garden)


  • Musician’s Oval (The Oval in St. Alban’s Park)
  • Gwen Ifill Park (Railroad Park)
  • Malcolm X Promenade (Flushing Bay Promenade)

Staten Island

  • Harris Brothers Park (Carlton Park)
  • Audre Lorde Walk (Silver Lake Park)

Last summer, Parks created “Juneteenth Grove” at Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn by planting 19 new flowering trees and adding new banners and benches in the colors of the Pan-African Flag. New signs in red, black, and green featuring the new names will be installed by the end of August.

The Parks Department also plans on renaming Bennett Park in Washington Heights, a site named after James Gordon Bennett, the founder of the New York Herald who was a known racist.


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