Fort Greene Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Dekalb Avenue and Washington Park, Brooklyn, NY
Hours:Dawn to 1 A.M. daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: Northwest Playground
Water/Snacks: Water fountains throughout park

Fort Greene Park offers great hikes, a Revolutionary War-themed playground, scenic views, and an information center packed with local history.

Visitors to Fort Greene Park enjoy relaxing on the park's shaded grass.
Photo by: David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons

For a relatively small space (30.2 acres), Fort Greene Park packs in a lot. The winding paths provide a vigorous walk up and down a hilly landscape, and the monuments and displays inside the Information Center offer lessons in natural history, military history, landscape design, and the enormous strides the city has made in the past few decades in converting neglected space into inviting destinations. Phew! All of that just a few blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge.

A few things you should know before acquainting yourself with the wonders of Fort Greene: There never was a fort named Greene on this site (it was named Putnam), and when the park opened in 1847 it was named Washington. Fort Greene Park acquired its current moniker 49 years later in honor of General Nathanael Greene, who had supervised construction of the original fort. As for the lessons on landscape and natural history, the park is centered on the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument (a tower as magnificent as the story behind it is grim), and on the tree map inside the Information Center, with corresponding markers set beneath the trees around the park. As you walk through the park, the markers will enable you to identify the various types of trees.

At the entrance to the park off Willoughby Avenue is a map showing you the distance of various paths you can follow through the park. To orient your- self, go directly to the Information Center by heading up the path to the right, then take the first left continuing uphill. You will notice that the same features that made the site important militarily (steep hills rising above the surrounding landscape) now make a good place for a vigorous urban hike.

Remember: Don’t miss the pillars in the Northwest Playground displaying the official animal and tree of each of the twelve colonies that fought in the American Revolution.

Plan B:

The Brooklyn Bridge is located a short walk away. A round-trip journey on the bridge over the East River provides not only views of Manhattan, but also an approximately 2.5-mile walk.


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