Southern Brooklyn

Morning Mug: Our Little Stonehenge


Photo by Lisanne Anderson, who writes:

This in a triangle at Shore Parkway South and East 16th Street. The arranged stones are suggestive of a Druid monument. I have no explanation as to who placed them there and what they are supposed to represent, if anything.

What Lisanne doesn’t know (or maybe she does, knowledgeable of the city’s miscellanea as she is), is that this triangle is named Sixteen Trees Triangle, a Parks Department highlight along Leif Ericson Drive. The department writes on its website:

Sixteen Trees Triangle, so named for the 16 American Linden (Tilia americana) trees bordering the triangle, first came under the City’s jurisdiction in 1940. In 1968, a local law transferred the property to Parks. The open space consists of the 16 trees, grass, and clover, a simple greenspace for the community.

The American Linden, also known as American Basswood, Limetree, and Bee Tree, has many different applications. The tree’s white blossoms of late June and early July provide bees with the nectar necessary to distill white honey, considered the finest among honey aficionados. The odorless wood from the Linden tree can be used for storing food, making utensils or as paper pulp and the inner bark was used by the Native Americans to make rope. Teas made from the leaves of the tree are said to sooth colds, coughs, headaches, and stomachaches as well as provide for restful sleep. A hardy tree growing easily from stump sprouts, the American Linden can easily survive the harsh city climate. The tree’s majestic look make it a perfect border for Sixteen Trees Triangle.

A hardy tree that grows from stumps, packed with utilitarian sweetness and psychotropic elements? Sounds quite American to me.


Comment policy


  1. I believe the reason for the large rocks are to prevent the area from being used as a playground. People used to play soccer there when there only was grass and trees.

  2. I shall be honest and mention that I had completely forgotten the name of the park. There was a marker there once, but I don’t believe its there anymore.

    As to who placed the boulders there, and their significance, I’m sure it was done with some purpose, it may be information that us buried in Parks Department records. Needless to say, getting from agency employees on that is an exercise in futility.

  3. of course,.. why would we want anyone to play soccer on a grassy area,.. its better they have a place to sit when they doing drugs and smoking cigarettes.

  4. Probably just dumb luck.

    They did the same thing in Manhattan Beach behind the tennis courts to prevent people from playing soccer there also.

  5. I walk all over the place and I never noticed this park. I know the triangle is there, but didn’t realize it was a green space. Looks like a quiet, serene place. Nice picture, as usual, Lisanne

  6. Whats with the little green space that has no access on Oriental at Hastings just east of the entrance to the beach. They put plants and a tree in the middle so no one can use it for any activity. in the 90s we would play football there but we would hop the little fence. It seems like a waste of space.

  7. Not sure of the space you are referring to. Probably because Parks feels if the space is used and people can enjoy themselves, they would have to reseed the turf. This way they could save money.

    A few years ago there also was a big to do about the softball field. They locked it up and requested to be notified in advance if a group wanted to use it. I think they may also have requested a charge to use it but I am not sure about that.

    Sometimes when I read the list of all the things you are not allowed to do in the parks, I have the strong urge to add the words “No having fun.”

  8. I remember them locking the softball field up. We still play there once in a while when we can get everyone together. The space i am talking about is right at the intersection of Hastings and Oriental you cant miss is it between Softball field and parking lot.

  9. Exactly right and you win nothing. Find out why that area is closed off. It would make for a nice little smoking section come summer.

  10. I’m thinking the space on the other side of the Belt Parkway west of the East 16th Street exit would make for a better soccer field. Devoid of trees except along the fence, it’s larger and more of a realistic playing space. And nobody uses it. That would make a nice small park.

    My thinking tree is still there, its got to be over 70 now.

  11. I don’t understand how they do. I saw the one in North Salem (NY, not Massachusetts) and it looks like it should fall down. But it hasn’t, and was first observed over 200 years ago.

  12. Really, I worked with granite, slate and natural formed round stones,
    I think the round stones messed me up.

  13. The boulders were placed there by the New York City Park’s Department. The area was seeded one spring and the soccer players uprooted all the grass. The Park’s Supervisor decided the boulders were the answer. It gives the area some character and according to Parks keeps people from playing on the grass.

  14. The problem is that Parks has no interest in using its land more productively if it’s gonna cost more money to maintain it. Just like the MTA doesn’t want to spend anymore money to run more service.

  15. They always cut the grass like about three times a year. If it were open to the public, they also would have to reseed it.

  16. They must have done it a few times. There was a period during the 70s when there were terrible bald spots in the grass. A few trees were cut down during that time, including a young one which appeared healthy.

  17. But if it were open to the public as a playing space, it would have to be reseeded every year, not every 30 years.


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