You are reading

Parks in Queens Renamed in Honor of Famous African Americans–Including Gwen Ifill and Malcolm X

Gwen Ifill (Photo courtesy of Flickr/PBS) NewsHour

June 17, 2021 By Ryan Songalia

The NYC Parks Dept. renamed 16 sites and parks—including three in Queens—in honor of famous African Americans yesterday.

The announcement Wednesday follows the launch of a program last June to rename various public spaces in honor of Black New Yorkers to bring attention to the Black experience in New York.

The total number of places renamed since the initiative began is now 28. The newly-named spaces represent educators, Civil Rights leaders, pioneers in the LGBTQ+ community, novelists, playwrights, abolitionists and more.

The Parks Dept., which announced the initiative amid the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, says the program is aimed at acknowledging the legacies of Black Americans and to show solidarity in the fight against systemic racism.

The new names announced yesterday include tributes to African Americans from Queens.

A park in Jamaica has been renamed after Gwen Ifill, the first Black woman to anchor a nationally televised public affairs program in the country. Ifill, who was born and raised in Jamaica Queens, anchored the PBS program Washington Week in Review from 1999 until her death in 2016.

Gwen Ifill Park is now the new name for what was Railroad Park. That public space is currently undeveloped, though there is $21 million in capital funding to build out the green space.

Meanwhile, the Flushing Promenade was yesterday renamed Malcolm X Promenade after the civil rights leader who lived in nearby East Elmhurst.

A section of St. Albans Park known as the Oval was also renamed the Musician’s Oval in honor of Black jazz pioneers who called the Addisleigh neighborhood their home, like Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, and Lena Horne.

“Our parks and greenspaces are critical community spaces, and these renamings in honor of the Black experience are physical reminders of the contributions and legacies of Black New Yorkers across our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I thank NYC Parks for their commitment to maintaining and creating these beautiful green spaces for all New Yorkers to enjoy and for their tireless work on racial justice.”

The renamed parks will have their welcome signs designed in the red, black and green colors of the Pan-African flag. The signs will be installed by the end of August 2021.

Other Queens sites that have been renamed since the program began last year include Ella Fitzgerald Playground at Kissena Corridor Park, and Helen Marshall Playground in East Elmhurst.

For the full list of park renamings across NYC click here

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Raga sworn in as first-ever Filipino American elected to the state Legislature

More than 300 community members attended the historic inauguration of Assemblyman Steven Raga as the first Filipino American elected to office in New York state.

Many who attended the swearing-in event at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park wore traditional and cultural attire to the event at the building that once housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations from 1946-50 until its current home in Manhattan became available for the world body.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.