Located on 6th Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets, Slope Park takes its name both from the community that surrounds it, Park Slope, and for the slight southwesterly slope of the park’s topography. The neighborhood of Park Slope derives its name from its proximity to Prospect Park and the gradual topographical incline from the Gowanus Canal to the park. First inhabited by the Canarsee Indians, the neighborhood now known as Park Slope was colonized by Dutch farmers in the 1660s. During the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the area became the site of a brief, explosive moment, in what is known as the Battle of Brooklyn, or the Battle of Long Island. On August 27, 1776, an outnumbered American regiment faced approximately 4,000 British soldiers at Battle Pass, a point now contained within Prospect Park.
In the 1870s, horse-drawn rail carts leading to the park lured the well to do of New York City to its urbanized, but peaceful streets. Railroad businessman and lawyer Edwin Clarke Litchfield (1815-1885), whose villa off Prospect Park West now serves as the headquarters of Parks in Brooklyn, had purchased huge tracts of farmland in the 1850s and began selling them to home developers after the Civil War. Prospect Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1865 developed into an oasis at the end of the 19th century as people scrambled to build mansions along Prospect Park West, known as the “gold coast.” In South Slope, by the Gowanus Canal, a growing Italian and Irish population worked along the waterfront and lived in more modest row houses. Today, Park Slope is famous for its tranquil, tree-lined streets and remarkably intact row houses, stately brownstones, and Queen Anne, Renaissance Revival, and Romanesque mansions. A revitalization movement began in the 1960s and 1970s, and residents today make beautifying and enriching their community a top priority. With a strong artist community and a lively history, Park Slope is one of the most culturally rich neighborhoods in the city, host to numerous parades, fairs, and outdoor markets.
In 1953, as part of the construction of the Prospect Expressway, Parks acquired a 1.712-acre parcel of land and opened it as a park three years later. In 1964, Parks relocated the park to an adjacent 0.689-acre parcel of land to make room for the expansion of I.S. 88, now Middle School 88, or the Peter Rouget School. For years, the park remained nameless. Finally, in 1987, Parks named it Greenwood Playground for its proximity to Green-Wood Cemetery.
Eleven years later, Parks renamed the property, designating it Slope Park. A $64,490 renovation project, funded by Borough President Howard Golden and Mayor Giuliani was completed in 1998. The renovation included the installation of new play equipment, safety surfacing and handball courts, as well as a general refurbishment of the property. Today, Slope Park boasts benches, a comfort station, a flagpole with yardarm, play equipment, spray showers, swings for tots and children, a drinking fountain, basketball courts and games tables.