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Barretto Point Park

Barretto Point Park

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

Barretto Point Park, a popular waterfront park in Hunts Point, opened in 2006. The park is named after Francis J. Barretto, a 19th-century merchant and State Assemblyman of Westchester County who owned an estate in the area.

The neighborhood of Hunts Point was originally home to the Weckquaesgeek, corn and tobacco farmers who called their land Quinnahung (a “long high place” or the “planting neck”). In the 17th century, European settlers displaced the Weckquaesgeek and built elaborate estates and farms. The region saw significant industrial growth after the IRT subway was established in 1908 and subsequent decline during 1950s. Today it is known for the Hunts Points Terminal Market and the Fulton Fish Market.  

Prior to 1950, this site housed a sand and gravel operation and an asphalt plant. Between 1954 and 1978, the placement of fill on the site increased the size of the upland and raised the grades significantly. By 1978 the property was completely abandoned. 

NYC Parks acquired the land from the City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2001. At the time it was designated a brownfield as a result of years of industrial use and illegal dumping. NYC Parks and DEP worked together to decontaminate the area and remediate it for public use. The neighborhood started using the site as a hangout with tropical music performances and food vendors. Isolated by surrounding warehouses and its geographical location along the peninsula, the secluded, grassroots park became the pride of the community known as La Playita.

In 2005, NYC Parks broke ground on the new park design. Barretto Point Park’s layout and orientation celebrate the spectacular views to the south and west, including an unrivaled view of the Manhattan skyline, as well as North and South Brother Islands. The main design feature is a gracefully undulating promenade, lined with benches and groves of trees, bordering a large central lawn. A large stone and grass amphitheater and stage overlooks the river and skyline vistas. A sand volleyball area, defined by a low stone-seating wall, borders the central lawn and is adjacent to an enlarged natural sand beach at the bottom of a boulder revetment. The park also features basketball and handball courts, play equipment, picnic areas, a comfort station, a boathouse, fitness areas, and a spray plaza and seating area that serves as a gateway into the park. 

One of the park’s primary attraction is the Floating Pool Lady, a seven-lane, 25-meter pool designed from a decommissioned river cargo barge. The feature is named after Ann Buttenwieser, a former NYC Parks official who advocated for decades for such pools. Based on the “floating baths” from the early 20th century, the Floating Pool Lady was first introduced to the park in June 2008. The pool has been docked here every year since and has entertained tens of thousands of swimmers during the summer months.

Today, people from Hunts Points and surrounding neighborhoods flock to Barretto Point Park for free programming and to enjoy this unique urban-pastoral sanctuary.

Park Information

Directions to Barretto Point Park

Highlights

  • Barretto Point Park

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