This park was once the site of two apartment buildings, which were destroyed by vandals in the mid-1960s. The name Duke comes from a fusion of two nearby street names, Dumont and Blake Avenues.
In 1967, the Department of Real Estate leased this property to Parks. A 1969 report described the site as “in good condition, though not completely developed.” Equipment at that time included benches, sandboxes, and jungle gyms. In 1987, the site was given the official name of Hudd Park, due to the reception of a Federal Urban Beautification Demonstration Grant, issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.). The grant was awarded as part of the agency’s program providing small, urgently needed recreation facilities in densely populated areas.
Over time, the lot on New Jersey Avenue between Blake and Dumont Avenues in East New York began to deteriorate once again. Appropriated as an informal dog run, it soon became unfit for other uses. A 1999 City Parks Foundation grant for $29,500 paid for an extensive renovation of the site. In 2001, the renovation was augmented through a $32,065 requirements contract from Mayor Giuliani.
New benches, asphalt, picnic tables, and play equipment attract locals of all ages, while a new fence decorated with fish cut-outs and frog play statues create a fun aquatic theme. Varied planting beds line the park’s three walls, while near the front, a wisteria-covered pergola built on pre-existing uprights lends the whole space a gracious air.