Trinity Park, on Gold Street between Sands and Nassau in downtown Brooklyn, is named in honor of the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, also known as the Trinitarian Sisters. Under the auspices of the Catholic Settlement Association of Brooklyn at the Dr. White Community Center, these nuns have worked to improve the lives of people in this neighborhood since 1908.
Inhabited originally by the Delaware Indians, this area attracted Dutch farmers in the seventeenth century. Long ago this community was known for the many temptations it offered wayward sailors. Known as the “Barbary Coast” in the nineteenth century, Sands Street was filled with taverns, brothels, and gambling houses. The street’s other nickname “Hell’s Half Acre” was used through the 1950s. Gold Street’s history is no less exciting. Legend has it that it is was named not only for the gold coins found in the area by its first developers, but also for Captain Kidd’s buried treasure, which lies undiscovered to this day.
Trinity Park is located near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, or BQE, which was constructed under the direction of Parks Commissioner Robert Moses between 1946 and 1964 to relieve congestion on local streets and to aid industry and business by shortening transportation time between the boroughs. Trinity Park sits directly under an underpass leading to the Manhattan Bridge, a two-level suspension bridge spanning the East River between Canal Street in Manhattan and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.
The park was acquired by condemnation in 1947, and named by local law in 1975. A proclamation mounted on a small triangle on the ground near the park’s main entrance reads, “Proclaimed by Mayor Abraham Beame and the Bridge Plaza ‘Action 12’ Block Association in recognition of the Trinitarian Sisters since 1918, who continue to live in and serve in this neighborhood among a changing ethnic population.”
Trinity Park is lined with London Plane trees, a species known for its ability to survive in harsh urban environments, including dry soil and polluted air. Due to the enduring popularity of the London Plane tree, NYC Parks uses the silhouette of its leaf as its official insignia.