Calvert Vaux Park

Calvert Vaux Park

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

This park is named for Calvert Vaux (1824-1895), an English architect who spent 40 years of his distinguished career in New York City. He designed private homes, apartment complexes, public housing, and public institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His partnership with Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) generated the designs for Central Park, Prospect Park, Morningside Park and Fort Greene Park. Vaux drowned under mysterious circumstances, and his body was found in nearby Gravesend Bay. In 1998, Parks named this property to honor the great landscape architect.

Parks acquired this land, bounded by Gravesend Bay, Bay 44th Street, Bay 49th Street, and Shore Parkway, in three parcels. In 1933, the Dreier-Offerman Home for unwed mothers and their children closed and donated its small portion of this property to Parks. In appreciation for this bequest, Parks named this Dreier-Offerman Park. In May 1962, Parks simultaneously acquired two additional parcels. One was a small strip of land that the City acquired in 1944. The other was a 72-acre tract consisting of newly acquired blocks of property and landfill that came from the debris of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge excavation. This acquisition, financed by a 1960 New York State bond act, provided the bulk of the park’s property.

Calvert Vaux Park has undergone several improvement projects and renovations in recent years. In 1995, a weeklong clean up and renewal project under the auspices of Parks’s 5x5 program enhanced the overall appearance of the park with improvements to plant life and pedestrian walkways. The 5x5 program is an initiative that focuses the efforts of Parks and local community groups on the revitalization of five parks in each of the five boroughs. Community Board 13, School District 21, and many local activists helped ensure that this program was a success in Calvert Vaux Park.

In November 2000, Parks completed a $2 million reconstruction of the playground area funded by Council Member Howard L. Lasher. The design included the construction of a new comfort station, open lawn areas, a children’s play area, bocce courts, basketball courts, and a paved walkway which terminates at a children’s spray shower.

Park Information

Directions to Calvert Vaux Park

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