Kaiser Park

Kaiser Park

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

This park is named for Dr. Leon S. Kaiser (1884-1951), a dedicated educator who served as a teacher and principal at several public schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn. A native of Manhattan, Kaiser attended City College as an undergraduate, and received a law degree from New York University. Instead of practicing law, though, Kaiser committed his life to educating children in New York City.

In 1924, Kaiser moved from Manhattan to Coney Island, Brooklyn, and took a post as principal of P.S. 188 at Neptune Avenue and West 23rd Street. In 1937, Kaiser became the first principal of Mark Twain Junior High School (P.S. 239), which is nestled just inside this park. Throughout his career, Kaiser held leadership positions in many educational and civic groups. He was vice president of the Junior High School Principals’ Association and president of the Brooklyn Teachers’ Association. In 1928, he helped raise $88,000 as the chairman of the Building Fund Committee for the Coney Island Jewish Center. Kaiser also served as chairman of the Coney Island Emergency Relief Committee in 1931. The dedicated principal worked at Mark Twain Junior High School nurturing young minds and encouraging students to excel until his death on April 7, 1951. Later that year, a local law passed naming the park in Kaiser’s honor.

The property on which the park is located was acquired by Parks from the Sinking Fund in two parcels. The first parcel was assigned on July 11, 1934, the second on June 23, 1937. Kaiser Park was formerly known as the Coney Island Lots because the northwestern corner of the park is situated on Coney Island. The name Coney Island was coined by the Dutch in the 17th century due to the abundance of wild rabbits, or “konijn” that populated the area.

In 1981, Kaiser Park was one of thirty Brooklyn parks that shared in a $3.6 million multi-site rehabilitation project. The basketball and handball courts were renovated in 1985, and the tennis courts were reconstructed in 1988. In 1993, severe winter weather damaged the park. Parks organized a large scale renovation and cleanup of Kaiser Park in March 1994, in which tons of displaced sand were moved back to the shoreline. That same year, four baseball fields and one soccer field were irrigated, resurfaced, and regraded.

Kaiser Park features a fishing pier that boasts a terrific view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The Gravesend Bay border of the park is also one of the best locations in Brooklyn to watch bird migrations. A myriad of bird species migrate through the area in the spring and autumn, including red-winged blackbirds, red-crested mergansers, buffleheads, double-crested comerants, and marsh hawks.

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