Nicholas Naquan Heyward Jr. Park


Friday, December 1, 2017
No. 124

The Park Was Reconstructed in 2011 and the Basketball Courts are the Final Piece

NYC Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Martin Maher today joined Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark, Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks and Head Coach Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn Nets players D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, DeMarre Carroll, and Jarrett Allen; City Council Member Stephen Levin, Assembly Member Jo Ann Simon, Nicholas Heyward Sr. and local community members to cut the ribbon on two newly refurbished basketball courts at Nicholas Naquan Heyward Jr. Park. The courts were funded and renovated by Barclays Center’s foundation, Barclays Center Cares, and the Brooklyn Nets Foundation for $324,000.

“Nicholas Heyward Jr. loved playing in this park, and his spirit continues to live on here through the community programs and activities organized by his namesake Foundation. We are thankful to Barclays Center Cares and the Brooklyn Nets Foundation for committing their time and funding to refurbish these basketball courts, which are a welcome addition to Nicholas’ park,” said Commissioner Maher. “The courts will serve as a beautiful tribute to a beloved local resident, and we are honored to present them to the community in remembrance of him.”

“We’re proud to be a part of the Brooklyn community and have the opportunity to give back to our neighbors by refurbishing the basketball courts at Nicholas Naquan Heyward Jr. Park,” said Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark. “We hope these beautiful courts serve as an inspiration for young people to play hard, learn and have fun. Thank you to NYC Parks for enabling us to give the community a place that they can be proud of.”

“I thank the Brooklyn Nets for their investment in the renovation of Nicholas Naquan Hewyard Jr. Park’s basketball courts, an incredible expression of corporate citizenship. Residents of Boerum Hill and beyond will enjoy this top-notch NYC Parks destination for recreation for years to come,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

“The newly renovated basketball courts at Nicholas Naquan Heyward, Jr. Park are a wonderful way to celebrate the memory of Nicholas, who was an avid basketball player himself. With new equipment and increased ADA accessibility, more neighborhood residents can now enjoy a game on the refurbished courts. I am glad that the annual birthday celebration to honor Nicholas’s life and memory will take place on these beautiful new courts. I want to thank Nicholas Hayward, Sr. for his dedication and persistence, and the Parks Department, Borough Parks Commissioner Marty Maher, and the Brooklyn Nets for making this possible,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.

“Every smile, every laugh, every cherished moment at this park honors the life of Nicholas Naquan Hewyard Jr.,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “While the grown-ups have a vital role to play, it is the youth of the community that will carry Nicholas’ legacy forward. I’m grateful of all the partners who came together to make this happen. This restoration reaffirms the community’s love for Nicholas and our continued support of this park is an important way we can acknowledge this sentiment.”

The two new courts have been completely repaved, painted and color sealed, and are now ADA-accessible. Fencing, benches, nets, hoops and backboards have all been replaced, and drinking fountains with bottle-fillers have been installed. This is the first major renovation to these courts in over 25 years.

Originally named the Gowanus Houses Playground, in 2001 it was renamed for Nicholas Naquan Heyward Jr. (1981-1994), a local resident who was fatally shot by a New York City Housing Authority police officer in the nearby housing complex where he lived with his mother, father and younger brother. Nicholas regularly practiced basketball in this park and made his school’s basketball team just days before his death.

In 1998, Groundswell, a community mural program, and local neighbors created a mural in honor of Nicholas Heyward's life and memory. Located on Baltic Street, a candlelight vigil is held there annually on the anniversary of his death. Each year on his birthday, August 26, the community gathers at the park for basketball games, activities for kids, and a toy exchange, where toy guns can be swapped for books or other playthings. This annual event is organized by the Nicholas Naquan Heyward Jr. Foundation, which was created to help save lives by instilling creative thought in the minds of youths and giving positive support to children from all communities. Nicholas’s spirit lives on in this park, and through ongoing programs and activities organized by the Foundation.

About Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment
Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (BSE) develops and operates state-of-the-art venues and manages premier sports franchises, delivering dynamic content and experiences for audiences. BSE oversees programming, marketing, sales, and operations for Barclays Center, NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and LIU Brooklyn Paramount Theatre. BSE manages and controls the Brooklyn Nets and its NBA G League team, the Long Island Nets, as well as the business operations of the NHL's New York Islanders.

Barclays Center, which opened on September 28, 2012, offers 17,732 seats for basketball, 15,795 for hockey, and up to 19,000 seats for concerts, and has 101 luxury suites, four bars/lounges, four clubs, and Parm Italian Restaurant & 40/40 CLUB by Tanduay Rum.

NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, reopened on April 5, 2017 after undergoing an extensive renovation. The Coliseum offers 14,500 seats for basketball, MMA and boxing, 13,900 for hockey, up to 15,000 for concerts, and 4,500 seats for its theater configuration. With a focus on emerging businesses, BSE identifies and creates alliances, strategic partnerships and other business opportunities to ensure the success of its assets.

Park Information

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