State Seeks Public Input for Williamsburg’s Marsha P. Johnson Park After Outcry

A rendering of the initial design. Image via New York State Parks


Answering weeks of objection to the controversial revamp of Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Williamsburg, green space stewards will host a handful of in-person workshops on how to better commemorate the namesake LGBTQ icon.

State parks heads announced five public sessions at the waterfront Kent Avenue park near North 8th Street between March 31 and May 1, seeking design alternatives from the public to honor the late gay liberation activist and celebrate the LGBTQ+ movement, according to the agency.

“The workshops will help develop a shared vision for the commemorative design and interpretive elements to celebrate the life of Marsha P. Johnson and the LGBTQ+ movement,” reads a March 17 release from the state’s parks department.

rendering of proposal for marsha p johnson park

Albany green space overseers ditched their own controversial design for a splashy mural across one of the park’s two concrete slabs and informational plaques with flowery designs after backlash from nearby residents and Johnson’s relatives, which boiled over at a meeting with Community Board 1 on March 4.

Johnson was an advocate for LGBTQ rights and HIV/AIDS treatment and fought in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, and died in 1992 at the age of 46.

Public input will be limited to the decorative features, and the state parks department has resumed construction work on the park’s infrastructure upgrades after a brief pause following the heated civic meeting earlier this month.

Independently of the workshops, the agency continues construction to build a new park house with a classroom and restrooms, shrink the concrete slabs by 27,000 square feet to add more green space, improve stormwater drainage, install a new water line for maintenance, and install new wheelchair accessible pathways and cobblestones, with a goal to wrap the project by June 1.

Most of the park will remain closed until then except for the north section and the dog run, which are accessible via the neighboring Bushwick Inlet Park.

rendering of proposed design for Marsha P Johnson State Park

Here’s the full schedule for the public workshops at Marsha P. Johnson Park at 90 Kent Avenue at North 8th Street in Williamsburg:

Initial public listening session:

Wednesday, March 31: 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm.

Saturday, April 3: 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm.

Public design review:

Tuesday, April 20: 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm.

Saturday, April 24: 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm.

Final public review:

Saturday, May 1: 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm.

For more information, call (518) 474-0456 or visit

[Renderings via New York State Parks]

Editor’s note: A version of this story originally ran in Brooklyn Paper. Click here to see the original story.

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