This park is named after Anthony Chiarantano (1934-1974), an East Flatbush resident who played a major role in the acquisition and development of this park.
Father of six and telephone company foreman for18 years, Mr. Chiarantano volunteered for the Catholic Youth Organization at Saint Therese de Lisieux, coaching the hockey, basketball and baseball teams. He was President of the East 43rd Street Block Association and also volunteered as coach for the 67th Precinct Police Athletic League’s hockey team.
Between 1969 and 1974, Mr. Chiarantano petitioned the City for a neighborhood park in his community. In an area where manufacturing was predominant, there was a paucity of open space for families. As a result of his efforts, Parks signed a 20-year lease for use of a 2.3 acre parcel of land owned by the Department of Education. In 1977, the park was created with a ballfield and outdoor hockey rink.
Three years prior to the establishment of the park, in the summer of 1974, Mr. Chiarantano was the victim of a violent random murder in his neighborhood. He left behind his wife and family and a legacy of commitment to his community work that included this park. To honor his years of advocacy, this park was named after him in 1978.
In the early part of the 20th century, the neighborhood of East Flatbush was home to industrial and manufacturing interests, served by a freight railway. In the 1920s, a paint factory operated on the site of this park. Developers in the 1930s and 1940s built single-family homes north of Farragut Road that now support a thriving residential community. Chiarantano Park sits in this divide between manufacturing and residential zones.
In 2000, the Department of Education reclaimed the site in favor of building a 1,000-seat school for grades K-9. Despite the loss of the playing fields, the greater community supported this change because of the evident need for schools in the area. To offset the loss of recreational space, a corner lot playground at Farragut Road and East 45th Street was built and new trees were planted within the park and around the block.
Although Anthony Chiarantano did not live to see the fruits of his labor, the park is a living memory of his civic work.