Babi Yar Triangle Playground
Babi Yar Triangle
What was here before?
This was once the site of the Manhattan Beach Hotel and Land Company owned by Austin Corbin (1827-1896). The high-end resort attracted upper-class clientele to the area until prohibition made gambling illegal, and the resort closed in 1912.
How did this site become parkland?
A New York City Art Commission Design Award was awarded to Krog and Tegnell Landscape Architects following their 1988 reconstruction of this triangle. What had once been little more than a paved traffic island was converted into a small, yet vibrant park. Their plans made full use of space, incorporating a memorial as well as various amenities for the community’s use. The Star of David, a universally recognized symbol of the Jewish faith, is inscribed within the center circle of the park. In its center, a bronze plaque commemorates the massacre of Babi Yar and bids visitors to remember the dead.
Brighton Beach has been a Jewish enclave since the 1920s and in the 1970s, a new influx of Russian Jewish immigrants increased the population of this community. A number of Ukrainian-born Jewish immigrants were present when traditional Jewish Klezmer music and a reading of Russian author Yevgeni Yevtuchenko’s 1961 poem “Babi Yar” marked the 1989 dedication of this memorial park.
The site was rebuilt in 2022 with new play equipment, game tables, and green space for respite and contemplation.
What is this parkland named for?
This park was named in 1981 to commemorate one of the darkest events of World War II (1939-1945). On September 29 and 30, 1941, Nazi Einsatzgruppe soldiers, supported by members of the Ukrainian militia, massacred 33,711 Jews in the Babi Yar ravine outside Kiev, Ukraine. Over the course of the 778 days of Nazi rule in Kiev, the ravine became a mass grave for over 100,000 people. In addition to Jewish Ukrainians, the Nazis targeted others for persecution, including Roma and Sinti people, Soviet Prisoners of War, people who they deemed to be homosexual, public dissenters of the Third Reich’s activities, and people who they deemed to have physical and mental disabilities.