Along with the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights, Arbor Place belongs to the group of parks that were created during the construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (B.Q.E.). The B.Q.E. was the brainchild of Robert Moses (1888-1981), Parks Commissioner and Chairman of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. It was built between 1946 and 1964, at a cost of $137 million.
For 40 years, Robert Moses served as the master builder of the City of New York. He played a primary role in the development of its parks, transportation, and housing. Beginning in 1924, he held the first of what eventually numbered a dozen city and state positions, many concurrently. Invested with this authority, Moses constructed 416 miles of highway, 13 bridges, 658 playgrounds, 17 miles of beach, and 11 swimming pools, as well as zoos, recreation centers, and ball fields. Under Robert Moses, the City’s park acreage more than doubled, to 34,673 acres.
Moses built the B.Q.E. under the auspices of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (T.B.T.A.). Combining his roles at the T.B.T.A. and at Parks, Moses created a series of small parks along the expressway to add more green space to the City and to act as a buffer between the expressway and the neighborhoods it traversed. Arbor Place is one of these parks.
Arbor Place at Tillary and Prince Streets is nestled between the ramps of the B.Q.E. where Downtown Brooklyn meets Fort Greene. The City acquired the property as part of the land used for the expressway’s construction. Arbor Place provides drivers and passersby with momentary relief from the shadeless concrete of the on and off ramps that bound it.