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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 to honor Hattie Carthan (1900–1984), a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident who always had an interest in trees, but 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. Mrs. Carthan began replanting trees in the neighborhood and, in the process, helped create the Bedford-Stuyvesant Neighborhood Tree Corps as well as the Green Guerillas, a group that worked to beautify the city by planting seeds in 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, in the garden that is named for her, 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 Department of Education and Parks. Built in 1964, alongside P.S. 305, now the Dr. Peter Ray School, the site was known simply as P.S. 305 Playground until 1995, when it was named for Carthan.

The playground was renovated between 1998 and 2000. With $1,123,000 in councilmanic funds, the ballfields and the playground were reconstructed. The park contains a comfort station with a weathervane, a drinking fountain, benches, play equipment with safety surfacing, a spray shower, 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.

Park Information

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