Bounded by Linden Boulevard, Stanley Avenue, Vermont Street, and Wyona Avenue, this park takes its name from Linden Boulevard. Renamed three times, the thoroughfare was originally called Van Brunt Street in honor of an old and respected family that once lived in the area. The first recorded ancestor of the family was Rutger Joesten Van Brunt (bef. 1653-abt. 1718) who immigrated to the town of New Utrecht, today part of Brooklyn in 1653. Another Rutger Van Brunt (1757-1830) built the old mill on Bull Creek, in about 1770. In 1887, the Brooklyn Common Council changed the name of the street to Vienna Avenue, after the Austrian Capital. The Common Council again changed the name of the street in 1924, designating it Lorraine Street, after the Lorraine region in eastern France. Although it is unclear when the street assumed its present name, Linden Boulevard, the name itself comes from the American linden trees (Tilia americana) that line the boulevard.
The American linden is one of approximately 45 species of the linden tree, native to the eastern United States. In forests, the tree is more commonly known as the basswood. It forms straight stems with clear lengths up to 100 feet. In late June and early July, creamy white blossoms fill the trees, emanating a sweet, perfumed scent. The tree itself yields soft, straight-grained wood used in building interiors and cabinetry, as well as for paper pulp. Fiber from its inner bark was historically used to make fishnets, mats, cords, and shoes. Most commonly found along city streets and in parks, the American linden is known for its hardiness and ability to tolerate most soils—making it an ideal choice for New York’s parks.
The name of this parkland has been changed nearly as many times as the street for which it is named. Parks acquired this property in two separate parcels. In 1946, the City obtained the first parcel, 1.515 acres, as part of the Linden Veterans Emergency Housing Project. Nine years later, the Board of Estimate assigned the property to Parks for use as a playground. In 1954, local law transferred the second parcel, an adjacent 7.989 acres, to Parks while removing 0.172 acres from the first parcel. For years the park was simply known as J.H.S. 166 Playground for the adjacent school, also known as the George Gershwin School, or, today, I.S. 166. Gershwin was a renowned composer and pianist who was born and made his life in New York City. In 1987, Parks designated this parkland Linden Playground. Ten years later, Parks again changed the name to Linden Park.
Today, Linden Park contains a track, football field, bleachers, benches, asphalt baseball diamond, handball courts, drinking fountains, tennis courts comfort station, play equipment with safety surfacing, swings for tots and children, spray shower and picnic tables. A flagpole flies the United States Stars and Stripes, and a yardarm displays the flags of the City of New York and Parks and Recreation. In 2000, Linden Park received a $12,000 renovation, which included installing a new chain link fence and refurbishing of the park’s gates, funded by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.
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