McCarren Park

Tom Stofka Garden

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

This garden is named in memory of Tom Stofka (1954-2004), who worked with NYC Parks for over 25 years, serving as Director of Brooklyn Forestry. He was the guardian of the borough’s trees. On his watch, the first street tree census was completed, the backlog of dead tree removals was eliminated, modern information management systems were introduced, and the Asian Long-horned Beetle was discovered and vigorously fought.

Born September 18, 1954 in New York City, Stofka graduated Xavier High School, earned a Bachelors of Science in Forestry from Queens College and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a Masters of Science from New York Technical College. Starting his career with the first-generation of Urban Park Rangers on May 21, 1979, he soon became a supervisor of the Rangers. By January 1984, he followed his vocation to the Forestry division.

Stofka became the Director of Brooklyn Forestry in 1995, where he maintained an attitude of patience and serenity. On May 6, 2004, he passed away from a heart attack. His immense love for his job and his warm personality, ensure Stofka is remembered by all who met him as an unparalleled professional and wonderful human being.

On May 10, 2006, NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe was joined by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and members of Tom Stofka’s family to cut the ribbon on a new state-of-the art running track, synthetic turf field, and entrance garden in McCarren Park. The construction included reconstruction of the Driggs Avenue entrance of McCarren Park with decorative steel entrance posts, new asphalt paths, benches and garden areas. The garden is filled with flowering azaleas, rhododendrons, skimmias, viburnums, hydrangeas, Kwanzan cherry trees, and a weeping beech tree. This garden is a fitting memory to the man who ensured the health and wellbeing of the city’s trees. 

Directions to McCarren Park

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