NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Press Releases

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
No. 6


Children Playing Ping Pong, Marcus Garvey (formerly Mt. Morris) Park, April 26, 1943
Children Playing Ping Pong, Marcus Garvey (formerly Mt. Morris) Park, April 26, 1943
NYC Parks Photo Archive

In celebration of Black History Month, NYC Parks is pleased to announce the exhibition “Namesakes: Honoring African Americans in NYC Parks” at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park. The show focuses on a selection of parks throughout the city that are named after notable African Americans. This exhibition is presented by NYC Parks’ Ebony Society and Art & Antiquities, and will be on view through February 27, 2020.

“This year’s Black History Month exhibition is a moving display of notable African Americans commemorated through our green spaces and monuments,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “With archival and current photographs of more than a dozen namesakes, the show illustrates how African American history has shaped our city’s culture and park system. We are proud to partner with the Ebony Society on this annual tradition, and we encourage New Yorkers to visit the Arsenal Gallery to see this meaningful show.”

Many of New York City’s parks and monuments honor African Americans who have shaped the landscape of our culture. “Namesakes: Honoring African Americans in NYC Parks” highlights some of the green spaces that pay tribute to the contributions and lives of notable African Americans from the 18th century to the 21st century. Historical images from the NYC Parks Photo Archive are displayed alongside contemporary photographs that show the vibrancy of these parks today. Accompanying texts share biographical details about the namesake individuals as well as information about the parks’ histories.

The NYC Parks Ebony Society was founded in 1985 with the purpose of unifying NYC Parks' African American community, increasing African American visibility, and recognizing those who make outstanding contributions not only to NYC Parks, but also their communities. Soon thereafter, the Ebony Society was chartered as a non-profit. The Society derives its name from the Ebony tree, indigenous to Africa and known for its strength. Since 1985, it has become an integral part of the NYC Parks community and has helped organize the annual exhibition honoring Black History Month in the Arsenal Gallery since 1991.

NYC Parks’ Arsenal Gallery is dedicated to examining themes of nature, urban space, wildlife, New York City parks, and park history. It is located on the third floor of Parks’ headquarters in Central Park on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and admission is free. For more information on the Arsenal Gallery, please call 212-360-8114.

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