Herbert Von King Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Von King Park Amphitheater Named In Honor Of Community Leader Almira Kennedy Coursey

Photo by Daniel Avila

On Tuesday, September 27, the amphitheatre in Herbert Von King Park was renamed in honor of Almira Kennedy Coursey (1914-1996) who lived a life of service and devotion to her community. In attendance at the ceremony was Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, City Council Member Albert Vann, Alma Carroll and Sidney Moshette of the Tompkins Park Recreation & Cultural Association, and Henrietta Coursey (daughter of Almira).

“Almira Kennedy Coursey helped to shape Von King Park from a passive town square into a bustling center of activity in Bedford Stuyvesant,” said Commissioner Benepe. “The programming and events that take place in the Coursey Amphitheater today will echo Almira’s enthusiasm for her community and devotion to the education of its young people.”

Born in New Bern, North Carolina, Almira Kennedy attended school in Winston-Salem and graduated from Saint Augustine’s College in 1934. Her strong attachment to her college led to a career in education. It was at this time that her dedication to community service began to take shape.

In the late 1940s, she moved to Bedford Stuyvesant, where she continued her career in education. She taught at Macon Junior High School while earning a master’s degree in student personnel administration at Teacher’s College. In 1968, she served as special assistant to the vice chancellor of the City University of New York where she developed programs to assist minority students. She worked with many advocacy groups in her surrounding neighborhood, and served on several city-wide committees on poverty and education under Mayors Wagner and Lindsay.

As one of the leaders of the Tompkins Park Recreation & Cultural Association, Almira Coursey was instrumental in the renovations of what was then called Tompkins Park (now Von King Park), including the establishment of the Eubie Blake Auditorium and the construction of the Kosciusko Pool. The recommendation for this naming of the amphitheatre was proposed by the Tompkins Park Recreation and Cultural Association and endorsed by Council Member Albert Vann and Community Board 3.

Acquired in 1857, Von King Park was one of the first parks established by the City of Brooklyn. It was originally named for Daniel D. Tompkins, an abolitionist who served four terms as governor of New York (1807-17) and two terms as vice president of the United States under James Monroe (1817-25). The Park has facilities that foster an appreciation for athletics and the arts. At the Von King Cultural Arts Recreation Center, the public can enjoy use of a computer resource center, performance stage, and art room. The Park also provides endless hours of enjoyment with its ballfields, handball courts and playgrounds.


We are pleased to announce that City Parks Foundation’s newly appointed President, Alison Tocci, began her work at the organization on Monday, September 26.

Alison has most recently been President of Time Out America, which encompasses Time Out New York, the city’s most comprehensive arts and entertainment listings source. She also has extensive not-for profit experience, having served as chair of the Waterfront Museum in Red Hook, Brooklyn for the past 12 years, and as a board member of the Municipal Art Society of New York. Prior to working with Time Out America, she was launch publisher of the monthly Brooklyn Bridge magazine, general manager of Brooklyn Paper Publications and advertising manager for Nashoba Publications in her home state of Massachusetts.

Alison lives in Brooklyn, in a neighborhood she likes to call “Gowanus Heights,” – a name she hopes to popularize for the area at the tail end of Boerum Hill. Her home parks are Carroll Park, where she spent many, many hours with her son when he was younger, and Prospect Park, where she enjoys biking & walking.

Alison succeeds David Rivel, who served with distinction as Executive Director of City Parks Foundation from 2001 until June 2011.

Please join us in welcoming Alison to the CPF team.

Adrian Benepe
Commissioner, NYC Parks

David Moore
Chairman of the Board, City Parks Foundation


“I think it’s always a good move to listen to that inner voice,
if it doesn’t lead to a crime.”

Lisa Kudrow
(1963 - )

Directions to Herbert Von King Park

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Recreation Centers
Herbert Von King Cultural Arts Center

The Herbert Von King Cultural Arts Center is closed until renovations are complete. Track our progress

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