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Parks exhibit honors African Americans who have city green spaces named for them

Marcus Garvey (formerly Mt Morris) Park, 1943. (Photos courtesy NYC Parks)

NYC Parks has opened an exhibition in Central Park that focuses on some of the parks named after notable African Americans. The show is called “Namesakes: Honoring African Americans in NYC Parks,” and is at the Arsenal Gallery, at 830 Fifth Ave. at East 64th Street.

The exhibition is presented by the NYC Parks’ Ebony Society and Art & Antiquities. It includes photos from the Parks archive, along with present-day photos of the parks. And there is information on each park, its history and biographical details about the person it was named after.

The exhibit is at the Arsenal Gallery until Feb. 27.

The exhibit includes Courtney Callender Playground at Fifth Avenue and 130th Street, named for the city’s first African American Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Affairs; Holcombe Rucker Park in Harlem, named for the Parks playground director in the neighborhood from 1948 to 1964, who founded the famous pro-am basketball tournament named after him; and Greg Marius Court in Rucker Park, named for the lifelong Harlem resident who founded the Entertainers Basketball Classic in the park.

There is also Hattie Carthan Playground and Community Garden in Bedford-Stuyvesant, named for the Brooklyn community activist and environmentalist; Betty Carter Park at 38 Lafayette Ave. in Brooklyn, named for the jazz artist who lived in Fort Greene; and Marcus Garvey Park in Upper Manhattan from 120th to 124th Streets, named for the famous political activist, journalist and orator.

Hattie Carthan Garden in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Betty Carter Park at 38 Lafayette Ave. in Brooklyn.

“This year’s Black History Month exhibition is a moving display of notable African Americans commemorated through our green spaces and monuments,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver in a statement. “With archival and current photographs of more than a dozen namesakes, the show illustrates how African American history has shaped our city’s culture and park system. We are proud to partner with the Ebony Society on this annual tradition, and we encourage New Yorkers to visit the Arsenal Gallery to see this meaningful show.”

The exhibition will be at the Arsenal Gallery through February 27.

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