Forest Park

Dry Harbor Playground

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

This playground gets its name from the original name for Glendale: Dry Harbor. A description of the area from the 1700s, looking from Cooper Avenue across the valley to Forest Park, said that the houses, which appeared to be sitting atop the crests of trees and hills resembled a harbor with no water. In 1869, area residents changed the neighborhood name to Glendale, but Dry Harbor Road and Dry Harbor Playground preserve the original name. The Dry Harbor nursery school house dates back to the 19th century and the birth of Forest Park. At that time the Brooklyn Parks Department managed parklands in what is now all of Queens and Brooklyn (an independent Queens Parks Department was established in 1911).

When the Brooklyn Parks Department began acquiring parcels for Forest Park in 1895, a local Frenchman named Edward Bourcier sold 15 of his 17 acres, keeping the last two which held his home. Bourcier died in 1906 and James Strain bought the house from Bourcier’s heirs and turned it into a private clubhouse for the Brooklyn Forest Park Golf Club. On November 31, 1924, the City of New York acquired the two-acre site of the house, and current playground, by condemnation for park purposes. The house was originally three stories tall but Parks lowered the structure to its present height of one story and coated it with safety surfacing for use as a playground house.

Dry Harbor Playground was constructed in 1934 with swings, see-saws, a wavy slide, a flagpole, and a schoolyard gymnasium. A 1983 renovation brought the playground to its present state: basketball courts, benches, a wading pool with a spray head, shuffleboard, a jungle gym, slides with safety surfacing, drinking fountains, horseshoe courts, a flagpole with a yardarm, bocci ball courts, timberform play equipment, and a baseball field.

The playground is located near the corner of Myrtle Avenue and 80th Street in Forest Park, one of New York City’s natural treasures. The Wisconsin glacier molded the land 20,000 years ago and left the Harbor Hill Moraine, creating a series of small hills, known as “knob and kettle” terrain, within Forest Park. The Brooklyn Parks Department sought to create a public park and purchased the first parcel on August 9, 1895, with parcel acquisition continuing until 1898. The parkland was originally known as Brooklyn Forest Park and was incorporated into Greater New York with the consolidation of the five boroughs in 1898. Forest Park features a wide array of recreational and park facilities such as the George Seuffert, Sr., Bandshell, the Bridal Path, tennis courts, playgrounds, and Victory Field.

Directions to Forest Park

Know Before You Go

Nature Centers
Forest Park Visitor Center

Forest Park Nature Center is currently closed to the public.

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