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Brooklyn’s parks without names

Nameless: Some of Brooklyn’s greenspaces, like this Park Slope one on Sixth and Prospect avenues, have never been named and are just called “Park.”
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

We’ve been through the borough in some parks with no names.

Most of Brooklyn’s parks are named for neighborhood heroes, geographical features, or landmarks. But a handful of borough green spaces never got christened by the Parks Department, leaving a trail of nameless parks that stretches from Bay Ridge to DUMBO.

“A lot of [parks] are certainly waiting to be named,” said park watchdog Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates.

A total of 15 parks lack names, according to the Parks Department website. Some of the orphaned parks come in the form of triangles in the middle of an intersection or scrubby open spaces with no amenities. But three are bona fide parks, complete with benches, trees, fences, and neighbors grateful for a patch of grass in the concrete jungle. The nameless status of the parks perplexes neighbors who say the Parks Department has plenty of source material to choose from.

“Don’t we have fallen soldiers, firefighters, police officers, and public servants from these streets?” asked Park Slope resident Anthony Elder.

All three anonymous arbors are in Park Slope, each a 10-minute walk away from world-famous Prospect Park. Two share the undistinguished name, “Park.” The third steps it up a notch with the moniker “Park Strip.” All three sit along the Prospect Expressway.

You might think that the parks’ high-traffic location explains their low ranking on the Parks Department’s list of priorities, but in fact, the city has no explanation.

“There’s no single reason why some parks are unnamed,” said Parks Department spokeswoman Meghan Lalor.

Nearly every city park has been named for an “historic or geographical element or for its surrounding community,” according to Lalor. Parks are named by the parks commissioner or by passing a local law. And just as there are no regulations about leaving parks nameless, there are no limits on what a park can be named.

In May, rap fans got a Brooklyn Heights park renamed in honor of late rapper Adam “MCA” Yauch, a founding member of famed rap group the Beastie Boys.

The only thing that might be worse than an unnamed park is a name squandered. Take for example the tidy green square near P.S. 295 in Park Slope named, breathtakingly, Slope Park.

Do you live near a nameless park and have a great idea for what to call it? Send us your park names at editorial@cnglocal.com.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.

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