In 1909, the City of New York acquired 105 acres of land in the neighborhood of Willowbrook. Twenty years later, this area of land was assigned to the Parks Department. In 1939 and 1940, land was purchased for the carosel_at_willowbrook_park_400Willowbrook Parkway. This parkway would have extended from Great Kills Park to the Bayonne Bridge; however, it was never built, and so the land instead went to Willowbrook Park, making it a whopping 164-acre park. Today, the park consists of over 200 acres in the neighborhood which bears the same name. It is located to the east of Richmond Avenue, between the streets of Ashworth Avenue and Victory Boulevard. The eastern boundary of the park is the 240-acre campus for the College of Staten Island.

One of the most popular Greenbelt parks of Staten Island, Willowbrook Park has an almost equivalent bend of wildlife and recreational activities. In 1932, the five-acre Willowbrook Lake, which was the first man-made pond on Staten Island, was made along Morani Street. There is a variety of trees and a few swamps located within the park, as well. A reconstruction of the park in 1989 saw the addition of gravel for the paths and handicapped access to the lake via an asphalt walkway. Taking this into consideration, many locals enjoy hiking among the glorious flora and viewing the beautiful scenery. One of the prize sights of Willowbrook Park is the butterfly garden, where visitors can catch a glimpse of the wonderful Monarch Butterflies which stop in New York City during their migration to find a warmer climate.willowboork_park_1_400

Inside Willowbrook Park, people can also utilize a number of recreational facilities which were constructed for the public. The sports areas located within the park are baseball fields and tennis courts. In addition, there is also a barbecuing area, a playground, and a fenced area for dog runs. In 1999, a carousel was added to the park. This carousel, which has been named The Carousel for All Children, displays 51 hand-carved animals and is wheelchair-accessible.

Being in such a family-oriented neighborhood, there are a number of events which take place in Willowbrook Park. The Urban Park Rangers host many of the events which occur there throughout the year--most of which are free of charge. One of these free events is fishing. In this catch and release program, the Urban Park Rangers provide all the necessary equipment and give lessons for all skill levels. They also give lessons on the ecology of the water. This program takes place at Willowbrook Lake.



One of the most underrated events to take place at Willowbrook Park, which many people do not know about, is archery. In this free program, the Urban Park Rangers once again provide you with all the equipment you will need. willowboork_park_2_400They also give lessons on how to use a bow and arrow and give a mandatory course on safety. Visitors are always welcome to practice their archery here, whether or not an event is taking place. However, equipment will not be provided during these times. The dog park actually doubles as an archery range. Don't worry, though-the dogs aren't allowed in the dog park after 9a.m., which is when archery is allowed in the area. Both the fishing and the archery programs can be taken by children eight years of age and older, provided they are with a guardian.

Posted by Anthony Licciardello on


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