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Marcus Garvey Park: Over a 150 Years in the Making

By admin | August 8, 2011

Photo: Pieter-Edelman

By: Dylan Rodgers

High above the streets a little girl wearing a lime green shirt and shorts stands as a giant in Harlem.  She can see Yankee Stadium, the Empire State Building, Grant’s Tomb, and the Harlem River each in a different direction.  She is by no means an abnormally tall little girl, she just happens to be standing 70 feet above street-level on one of Marcus Garvey Park‘s many historical elements:  the Acropolis.

Formerly named Mount Morris Park, Marcus Garvey Park was renamed in 1973 after the Jamaican activist and staunch promoter of Black Nationalism, Marcus Garvey Jr.  The park has been an integral site for the local Harlem community for over 150 years.   It acts as a historical landmark, a meeting place for neighbors, a holy place for members of local churches, an  amphitheater for Shakespeare and orchestras, and of course a place of constant outdoor activity.  It has a pool and bathhouse, a recreation center, a baseball field, and the third oldest cast-iron, fire watchtower in the world.  Located in one of the first districts to be developed following the introduction of the elevated rail service in the 1880s, the park is encased by exquisitely built brownstones, each a snapshot of a century past.

Whether you enjoy strolling back in time, playing ball, or just catching a little music and some R&R Marcus Garvey Park has what you need.  So next time you’re planning some personal time, plan to visit one of Harlem’s most important sites.  Go stand on the Acropolis and see the city in its vastness, and remember that people have stood where you’ll stand for over a hundred years to look at New York City.  Make sure to take a picture, because you can bet that people will stand there a hundred years later and see something entirely different.

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