EAST NEW YORK – On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the opening of the first section of the new Shirley Chisholm State Park, located along Jamaica Bay in East New York.
A mural honoring the former Congresswoman by artist Danielle Mastrion welcomes visitors to the park. The $20 million first phase of the public green space features ten miles of marked trails for hikers and bicyclists, a bayside pier for picnicking and fishing, and water access.
Bike New York will create the Shirley Chisholm State Park Bike Library, where bicycles will be available for free to park-goers to ride along the trails while partnerships with groups such as New York City Audubon will offer educational environmental programs for kids.
The 407-acre Shirley Chisholm State Park is the state’s newest and largest public park in New York City. The site previously housed the former Pennsylvania and Fountain Avenue landfills, operated by the NYC Department of Sanitation from 1956 to 1983.
The park is part of the Governor’s Vital Brooklyn Initiative, which plans to develop or renovate 34 pocket parks, community gardens, playgrounds, and recreation centers in Central Brooklyn.
“Today we add another gem to our treasure trove of state parks, transforming what was once a blemish on the South Brooklyn community into exquisite open space,” Governor Cuomo said in a release announcing the new park. “Shirley Chisholm fought to improve the health and wellness of underserved communities, a legacy we are carrying on through the Vital Brooklyn Initiative, so we are proud to dedicate this park in memory of her leadership and accomplishments.”
Currently being designed, the project’s $20 million second phase includes “a grand entrance on Fountain Avenue,” lawn patios, and pop-up environmental education facilities. This work is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
Chisholm was born on November 30, 1924 in Brooklyn to immigrant Caribbean parents. She served New York as a member of the Assembly from 1965 to 1968, then became the first African-American woman elected to Congress representing the 12th Congressional district. She ran in the Democratic primary for President in 1972. She passed away in 2005. A monument honoring Chisholm that will stand by the Parkside Avenue entrance of Prospect Park is currently in the works.