North Western Brooklyn

The Naval Cemetery Landscape Creates A New Public Space At The Navy Yard

The park at dusk. (Courtesy Fort Greene Focus/Justin Fox.)
The Naval Cemetery Landscape at dusk. (Courtesy Fort Greene Focus/Justin Fox.)

A former cemetery in the Brooklyn Navy Yard was reborn as a public space last week.

The Naval Cemetery Landscape is a waterfront 1.7 acre public space built on the site of a former naval cemetery on the southeast corner of the Brooklyn Navy Yard at the intersection of Flushing Avenue and Kent Avenue. Developed as part of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, May 20 marked the first time the public had access to the space in 90 years.

“With the opening of the gates of Naval Cemetery Landscape, families will now also have a place for quiet reflection to escape into nature and experience the native ecology,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

(Courtesy Christopher Singleton.)
A rendering of the front of the park during daytime. (Courtesy Christopher Singleton.)

During its active period from 1834 until 1910, the Brooklyn Naval Hospital Cemetery was the burial site of over 2,000 people, including two Medal of Honor winners. In 1926, the remains were re-interred at Cypress Hills National Cemetery.

The US Navy purchased the site in 1824 and opened the hospital in 1838. While the hospital closed in 1948, the land was used a Naval receiving station through 1990.

The park is part of a planned 14 mile greening of the Brooklyn waterfront, stretching from Bay Ridge up to Greenpoint. The park was developed by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative in conjunction with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. Marvel Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects collaborated on the design of the project.

“With our design of the Naval Cemetery Landscape, we endeavored to create an experience of landscape and planted form that offers retreat, remembrance, and engaged observation while honoring the layered, 200 year history,” said Thomas Woltz of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects.

The Naval Cemetery Landscape hours are 8am to 8pm. It’s only open part of the week, from Wednesdays to Sundays.

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