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Harmony Park

Harmony Park

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

Once a vacant lot, this park was created through a partnership between the local Fulton Park Homeowners Association and the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in 1990 and transferred to Parks seven years later. Landscaped with numerous varieties of trees and shrubs, it is a green oasis just north of the Atlantic Avenue railway and bordered on three sides by residential and school buildings.

As part of the Open Spaces Program, this site was among many selected by a panel of HPD planners and architects, community groups, churches and elected officials to identify vacant city-owned parcels suitable for open space. In 1990-1, the park was built with city funds at the cost of $850,000. For the next seven years, it was maintained by agreement by the Fulton Park Homeowners Association. In 1997, the property was transferred to Parks which now maintains it with the help of a community of volunteers.

This rectangular parcel is based in Bedford Stuyvesant, an historic neighborhood in Brooklyn. Once known as Bedford Corners and Stuyvesant Heights, the neighborhood was inhabited by the Dutch and used as farmland during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In 1790, more than one quarter of the residents were African-American, the majority of whom were slaves. In 1827, slavery was abolished in the state of New York. In the 1830’s, small numbers of blacks succeeded in purchasing land in Bedford and this development led to an increasing number of African-Americans in this neighborhood, as well as in the bordering neighborhoods of Weeksville and Carrville.

As these neighborhoods became more closely linked to other parts of the city -- with the arrival of the Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad at Atlantic Street in 1836 and the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 -- their populations expanded in number and diversity. By the latter part of the 19th century, there were Dutch-American, Scottish, Irish, German, Jewish and African-American residents. Today Bedford-Stuyvesant is largely an African-American neighborhood bordered by Flushing Avenue and Atlantic Avenue.

Harmony Park is bounded by Troy Avenue, Schenectady Ave, Herkimer Street and Atlantic Avenue, and the entryways into the park are located at the ends of Hattie Jones Court and Jewell McKoy Lane. The site is landscaped with winding paths, lawn areas, trees, game tables and three flagpoles. Among the many varieties of trees planted in this park are white mulberry (Morus alba), linden (Tilia americana), blue spruce (Picea pungens), and pin oak (Quercus palustris).

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