Elizabeth Stroud Playground
Fulton Park East
This park takes its name from the adjacent Fulton Park, which in turn was named for Robert Fulton (1765-1815), the renowned inventor, engineer, and painter. Fulton was born and raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. At 17, he went to Philadelphia to study portraiture and landscape. Four years later, in 1786, Fulton traveled to England, where he continued his painting, and began to study nautical engineering and design as well. In 1797, Fulton went to Paris, and while living in France, between 1797 and 1806, he built the submarine Nautilus (1800) and an experimental steam-powered vessel (1803) that plied the Seine River.
With the financial support of Robert R. Livingston (1746-1813), the U.S. Ambassador to France, Fulton returned to the United States to develop a steam-powered vessel that could travel on the Hudson River. Livingston had long been interested in finding a way to speed up the trip between the City and his estate in Clermont, 110 miles north. Fulton’s expertise was just what Livingston needed. On August 17, 1807, Fulton’s steamboat made the trip upstream from New York City to Albany, with a brief stop at Clermont, in 32 hours, far faster than a sailing vessel travelling the same route. The steamboat was named the North River Steamboat of Clermont, later shortened to the Clermont.
Fulton then built a torpedo boat, a steam frigate that had been commissioned for the defense of New York Harbor, and the first steam ferry, the Nassau, which operated on the East River between Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. Fulton died in New York City on February 24, 1815. Fulton Streets in Brooklyn and Manhattan, on opposite shores of the East River, were named in his memory, as well as the famous Fulton Fish Market, on the Manhattan side, two blocks south of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Fulton Park East, which lies on Stuyvesant Avenue and Fulton Street, was administered by Parks under permit from the Board of Transportation beginning January 1, 1939. The Board of Estimate, a now defunct municipal body, took full control of the park on May 27, 1954, and Parks continued to maintain the facility. On February 6, 1975, the Board of Estimate assigned Parks full control of the property.
Under the Fulton Park Urban Renewal Area plan of the mid-1970s, the southern boundary of Fulton Park East was extended over a discontinued portion of Marion Street to the present boundary along Fulton Street. The park includes play equipment with safety surfacing, benches, swings, and stately London planetrees (Platanus x acerifolia). Borough President Howard Golden appropriated $535,000 for a playground reconstruction project that was completed in February 2000.