Epiphany Playground

Epiphany Park

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

Located on Berry Street and North 9th Street, Epiphany Park is named for the nearby Epiphany Roman Catholic Church. The church, in turn, is named for the Christian feast, observed on January 6, that commemorates the visit of the Three Wise Men, or the Magi, to the newborn Jesus Christ.

The feast originated, and is still recognized in some Christian communities, as the anniversary of the baptism of Christ. In churches throughout the world, Epiphany secondarily commemorates the marriage at Cana, at which Christ performed his first miracle by turning water into wine. As a formal celebration, the feast dates back to before A.D. 194, making it older than the celebration of Christmas. The eve of Epiphany is called Twelfth Night, and the day itself is sometimes referred to as Twelfth Day. In Great Britain, the sovereign commemorates the day by offering gold, frankincense, and myrrh, the gifts the Magi are said to have brought to the infant Christ at the altar in the Chapel Royal, at Saint James's Palace in London. In the Eastern Orthodox churches, during Epiphany, holy water is traditionally blessed, a ritual customarily taking place on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, in the Roman Catholic Church.

Both Epiphany Church and Epiphany Park are located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, named for surveyor (and first Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point), Colonel Jonathan Williams (1750-1815). In 1818, David Dunham (ca. 1790) launched a steam ferry service to Manhattan, which further spurred the growth of the community. Ten years later, the area was incorporated as the Village of Williamsburgh. In the following decades, industry flocked to the waterfront. Williamsburgh became so large that it was chartered as a city in 1852. Three years later, the City of Brooklyn annexed Williamsburg and dropped the "h" in the community's name. In 1898, upon consolidation, the City of New York incorporated the City of Brooklyn as the borough of Brooklyn.

In 1997, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services assigned this property to Parks. Four years earlier, in preparation for the transfer, Parks had entered into a maintenance agreement with Arriba Juntos' "Forward Together, Inc." local Catholic service organization that also operates after-school programs for children. Located in Epiphany Roman Catholic Church, Arriba Juntos is responsible for Epiphany Park's upkeep, including all of the park’s recreational facilities and landscaping. Today, thanks to both Parks and Arriba Juntos, Epiphany Park boasts basketball courts, play equipment with safety surfacing, benches, spray shower, drinking fountain, and a garden area.

Park Information

Directions to Epiphany Playground


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