How Calculated: Estimated number of adults who reported having walked or bicycled more than 10 blocks to get to and from work, school, public transportation or to do errands, in the past 30 days, divided by all adults in the area; expressed as a percent.
Source: New York City Community Health Survey (CHS)
Constructed 1937, Renovated 2005
A rarely noticed, circular granite stone commemorates the renovation of Marcus Garvey Park (misleadingly indicating that it came into existence in 1937) in 2005:
The text is particularly hard to make out, but as always, politicians got their names etched into a fairly permanent form of free publicity.
Marcus Garvey Park has been in existence as a common space, if not a park, since the Dutch colonial era, when the rocky outcropping of Manhattan schist was set aside as a common pasture land.
The Parks Department website notes:
The history of Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park reaches far back into the colonial period. Dutch settlers named it Slangberg, or Snake Hill, after the creatures that slithered through the hilly area. In 1835, local citizens won their fight to preserve the land as a public park rather than raze it to make room for city streets. Their park welcomed a community center and child health station in the 1930s. The 47-foot cast-iron watchtower built in 1856 to guard the mostly wooden city against fire was designated a landmark in 1967 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Originally named Mount Morris Park, the park was renamed Marcus Garvey Park in 1973 after the black activist, orator and journalist.
Marcus Garvey Park continues to be a unifying element for the community who once fought to keep it. The Pelham Fritz Recreation Center includes an amphitheater and a swimming pool, and the two children’s playgrounds allow all young visitors of all abilities to play. Families and neighbors can gather together on hot summer days to swim in the outdoor pool and enjoy jazz performances from the City Parks Foundation’s annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. The community also plays a large part in the upkeep of the park with groups like the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance, the Marcus Garvey Dog Run Committee, and the Mt. Morris Park Community Improvement Association, as well as the police and local elected officials working with Parks to ensure its safety and cleanliness for another 100 years.
In 2008 Mayor Bloomberg announced plans for a $5 million renovation of the amphitheater. The project is funded in part by a $1 million contribution by The Rodgers Family Foundation.