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Hattie Carthan Playground

Hattie Carthan Playground

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

This playground is named in honor of Hattie Carthan (1900–1984), a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident who always had a love of trees, and whose environmental conservation efforts stemmed from watching the natural environment in her neighborhood deteriorate. When she moved into her home on Vernon Avenue, the street was lined with trees; by 1964 only three remained. Carthan began replanting in the neighborhood, and in the process helped create the Bedford-Stuyvesant Neighborhood Tree Corps as well as the Green Guerillas, who strove to beautify the city by throwing seeds into abandoned lots.

A proponent of strong neighborhood associations, Carthan became the chairwoman of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Beautification Committee, which brought together one hundred block associations in a project that added over 1,500 trees to the neighborhood. Carthan also helped found the nearby Magnolia Tree Earth Center, on Lafayette and Marcy Avenues. A mural depicting Mrs. Carthan appears on the front of the center.

The playground, located between Monroe Street, Tompkins Avenue, Madison Street, and Marcy Avenue, is jointly operated by the Board of Education and Parks.  Built in 1964 alongside PS 305, now the Dr. Peter Ray School, the site was known simply as PS 305 Playground until 1995, when it was renamed for Carthan.

The playground was renovated in 2000 in a project that included the reconstruction of sidewalks, pavements, and chain-link fence gates. The park contains a comfort station with a weathervane, a drinking fountain, benches, play equipment with safety surfacing, a spray shower, a flagpole with yardarm, game tables, and basketball and handball courts.

A treasured resource for neighborhood families, the Hattie Carthan Playground is a fitting tribute to its namesake, a local hero who made a difference in her community.

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