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NYC Parks, Fort Greene Park Conservancy & Urban Park Rangers Reopen Visitor Center, Museum

NYC Parks, Fort Greene Park Conservancy & Urban Park Rangers Reopen Visitor Center, MuseumOn Saturday NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP joined newly appointed Fort Greene Park Director David Barker, NYC Parks Urban Park Ranger Chris Wood, Fort Greene Park Users and Pets Society (PUPS), Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, volunteers and community members for a day of fun-filled activities celebrating the reopening of the Visitor Center and museum at Fort Greene Park. Fort Greene Park's Visitor Center provides parkgoers with a number of opportunities to interact with the park's cultural, architectural, and natural history.

"Whether as an introduction to the neighborhood's natural aspects, an immersion in the American experience, or simply a brief reprieve from the summer sun, the Fort Greene Park Visitor Center serves as a gateway to all that Brooklyn's first park has to offer," said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. "There is so much to discover in Fort Greene Park and with the reopening of this Visitor Center and helpful Urban Park Rangers to guide you, now there will be even more."

"The Fort Greene Park Conservancy warmly welcomes Urban Park Ranger Christopher Wood to the park," said Fort Greene Park Conservancy Chairman Charles Jarden. "The reopening of the Visitor Center constitutes an important touchstone in the park's history, and will undoubtedly be an ideal complement to the Conservancy's repertoire of free, diverse, cultural and historical programming in Brooklyn's first official park. We encourage members from all corners of our community to come join the Conservancy and NYC Parks on Saturday to help celebrate this momentous occasion and commemorate the beginning of the park's programming season."

At the Visitor Center's heart is a museum celebrating close to 250 years of Brooklyn and American history. Visitors can explore exhibits showcasing Fort Greene's place in the American Revolution, and learn about the Park's role in the Battle of Brooklyn. The museum boasts an impressive array of replica flags and firearms, as well as other artifacts and signage commemorating the lives of some of Brooklyn's first residents and US military officers instrumental in the American fight for independence.

The Visitor Center itself is an architectural achievement. Designed by the famed architectural team of McKim, Mead, and White in the early 20th Century, the Beaux-Arts-styled structure completes the neoclassical Prison Ship Martyrs Monument built to commemorate the sacrifice of nearly 12,000 Revolutionary War soldiers. The museum affords visitors the opportunity to interact with Fort Greene Park's storied architectural pedigree, with exhibits detailing the contributions of such famous names as Walt Whitman, Frederick Law Olmsted, and Calvert Vaux to the park's designs and landscapes.

As always, the NYC Parks' Urban Park Rangers at Fort Greene Park ensure that all the park has to offer is accessible to the public. The Visitor Center serves as the hub for Fort Greene Park's scheduled events, and in addition to regularly scheduled staff members at the center, a full-time Urban Park Ranger will be stationed in the park. Educational and interpretive programming appropriate for patrons of all ages will be provided. Through tours, nature walks, and pop-up programming, the Urban Park Rangers offer youth, school groups, and families the opportunity to learn about the natural world and Brooklyn's physical environment through engaging activities and expert instruction. For more information about the Urban Park Rangers' offerings, visit www.nycgovparks.org/programs/rangers.

"We are thrilled to open the Visitor Center and Museum in time for the busy summer season," said Park Director David Barker. "Not only does the Center showcase history and ecology, it also provides needed bathrooms for much of the park. The Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm and as needed for special events."

At Saturday's event, attendees enjoyed activities all day, including Colonial-era games, nature hikes, historic tours of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, gardening and park clean-up. Visitors were also invited to attend a tour of the Wallabout neighborhood. On the last Saturday of each month during Summer 2015, the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, in collaboration with the Fort Greene Park Conservancy, will continue to host FREE guided walking tours through Fort Greene Park and the historic Wallabout neighborhood north of Myrtle Avenue. The neighborhood, most of which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district, has a beautiful mix of pre-Civil War homes and late 19th century industrial buildings. The walk will discuss how the neighborhood has developed since the Dutch first arrived in the early 1600's and highlight notable residents, such as Walt Whitman. The two-hour guided tour begins in Fort Greene Park, includes a 1.5-mile walk, and concludes at 99 Ryerson Street. Space is limited and registration is required.

About the Fort Greene Park Conservancy - The Fort Greene Park Conservancy is managed by an all-volunteer board, and works in close association with NYC Parks to enhance the park experience in the community. The Conservancy hosts a number of free educational, cultural, and community-building events in the park each year as well as purchases supplies and plant material. www.fortgreenepark.org.

About NYC Parks Urban Park Rangers - The mission of the Urban Park Rangers is to promote stewardship for New York City parks by connecting New Yorkers to the natural world through environmental education, outdoor adventure, wildlife management and active conservation. Working out of nature, visitor and adventure centers located in parks throughout the city, Rangers reach thousands of New Yorkers every year and strive to heighten awareness of the open green spaces and natural resources hidden in our urban landscape. Urban Park Rangers work to build environmental stewardship for City parks through innovative, park-based, hands-on programs.

Photo Credit: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

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