Marine Park

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For the public park of the same name, see Marine Park, Brooklyn.
Gerritsen Avenue, a major traffic corridor in the neighborhood.

Marine Park is a neighborhood that lies between Mill Basin and Gerritsen Beach in the New York City [borough (New York City)|borough]] of Brooklyn. The neighborhood is mostly squared off in area by Gerritsen Avenue, Flatbush Avenue, Avenue U and Kings Highway. It partly surrounds the eponymous park. The neighborhood is characterized by a mostly Irish populace, with smaller Italian-American and Jewish communities[citation needed]. The area is part of Brooklyn Community Board 18.[1] As of 2007, Marine Park had a population of 86,253.[2]



The neighborhood is situated around Gerritsen Inlet, the westernmost inlet of Jamaica Bay. During the last 5,000 years strips of sand were deposited by ocean currents. These beach strips form a surf-barrier and allow salt marshes to ". . . grow in the calm water on their protected bay side . . ."

A typical salt marsh, one of many in Marine Park.
"...Gerritsen Creek was a freshwater stream that once extended about twice as far inland as it does today. Around 1920 the creek north of Avenue U was converted into an underground storm drain, but it continues to supply the salt marsh with fresh water, which helps the marsh support a wide range of organisms. ..." [3]

Native Americans who lived in the nearby Keshawchqueten village favored the creek for hunting and fishing. Food preparation pits dating from 800 to 1400 A.D. were revealed by archaeological excavations in Marine Park. The pits contained deer and turtle bones, oyster shells and sturgeon scales.

The area was originally a Dutch settlement, Gravesend Neck, that had the first tide mill in North America. Dutch settlers found the salt marshes and coastal plain-land of southern Brooklyn similar to Holland's landscape. Their food was comprised of farm-produced livestock, game, and harvests of oysters and clams, which were easily obtainable in this natural setting.

In the 20th century, city plans were elaborated to make a port out of Jamaica Bay, with a commercial dock at the site of today's Canarsie Pier at the foot of Rockaway Parkway. A real estate boom was anticipated, and land was bought by private owners.

Waterfront of Marine Park neighborhood
"...Fearing that the relatively pristine marshland around Gerritsen Creek would be destroyed, Frederick B. Pratt and Alfred T. White offered the city 150 acres (0.6 km2) in the area for use as a park in 1917. After a seven-year delay the City accepted the offer. The prospect of a new park inspired developers to erect new homes in the area and, in the year 1926, form the organization, Marine Park Civic Association, although park improvements were slow to follow. Fill deposited in the marshlands in the 1930s and now land purchases increased the park's area to 1,822 acres (7 km2) by 1937. That year the Board of Aldermen named the site Brooklyn Marine Park..."[3]

In 1939, more than 789 acres (3.2 km2) of land were donated to New York City, and Marine Park (the park itself) was created. Many of the houses in the neighborhood were built around the same time. These houses are referred to as the Marine Park Neighborhood. Additional land transactions took place; for example, 1,024 acres (4 km2) of park were transferred to the National Park Service and is now Saltmarsh Nature Center.

Marine Park in winter.

Today's Marine Park

Marine Park is made up mostly of working-class ethnic residents, including many of Italian, Irish, Greek and Jewish extraction. In recent years, as the neighborhoods of Midwood and Madison have expanded and their property values have risen precipitously, young Orthodox Jewish families have become a noticeable presence in the Marine Park neighborhood.[citation needed][4]

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