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John J Carty Park

Fort Hamilton Senior Center

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

With over 700 members, Fort Hamilton Senior Center serves as a lively gathering place for senior citizens throughout Brooklyn. The center has a card room, library, dance and recreation room, an arts and crafts room, and a computer room. Established in 1966 under the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority’s (TBTA) neighborhood improvement plan, the center officially opened on January 20, 1967.

During the 1960s construction of the Verrazano Bridge, TBTA designated an 8.25-acre space underneath the bridge as parkland. The area, running from 94th to 101st streets and Ft. Hamilton Parkway in Ft. Hamilton, Brooklyn, was originally named Fort Hamilton Playground. The site was acquired by a grant of an easement from the U.S. government to Parks in 1956. In 1971, Local Law renamed the park to honor John J. Carty (1909-1970), the long-time First Deputy Comptroller of New York who resided in the area.

The Senior Center building, located at 100th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, was built for $250,000. The dedication ceremony, held on January 20, 1967, was presided over by Mary Moses, the wife of former Parks Commissioner and TBTA Chairman Robert Moses and featured speakers including Borough President Abe Stark and Parks Commissioner Thomas P.F. Hoving. Local priests attended to give benedictions. Music for the event was provided by the Department of Sanitation Band.

In 1994, the floor space was increased by 40% to provide a larger dance floor, library, and arts and crafts room. The ribbon cutting ceremony attendees included Borough President Howard Golden, City Counsel Member Sal F. Albanese, Assemblyman Jules Polonetsky, and Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Julius Spiegel. In July of 1997, the center held a 30-year anniversary in which patrons displayed artwork, the glee club performed and the Tai Chi and line dancing classes gave demonstrations.

The center now provides many activities, including painting, ceramics, movies, and glee clubs, in addition to the card, dance, and computer rooms and library. It also publishes its own newsletter detailing monthly events and uses the dance room to hold lectures and discussion groups. Many five-day trips are organized to various historical and resort locations. The center organizes special events for many major holidays as well as “Extravaganzas” put on at least once a year. The Fort Hamilton Senior Center is an excellent place for Brooklyn’s seniors to socialize and demonstrate their creative talents.

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