This park is named for Betty Carter (1929-1998), and honors a neighborhood cultural icon, the legendary African American jazz artist who was a prominent resident of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Originally called BAM Park for the Brooklyn Academy of Music located across Lafayette Street, this 14,000 sf park triangle was originally created in the 1980’s on HPD property. Major subsidence within the park made the site unsafe and the gates were padlocked and the park closed to the public for more than a decade. QRP won the commission to redesign the park for the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a not-for-profit local development corporation.
The redesigned park preserved several of the impressive mature trees on the site, including three prized Beech trees, and removed some of the pine trees that made the park look overgrown, shaded and forbidding. The tall perimeter fence was removed to make the park physically and visually accessible. The park was redesigned with a more open plan with gracious entryways that better integrates the interior with the surrounding streetscape, facilitates pedestrian circulation, and a larger paved plaza area provides easy movement through the park. A small elevated deck provides opportunities for ad-hoc concerts by the nearby Brooklyn Music School and others, as well as making a good vantage point for people watching. A curving seat wall, “pebble benches”, and park benches afford ample seating for visitors to lunch or relax in the sun or shade.
Along with the adjacent Fowler Square, also designed by QRP, Betty Carter Park offers new outdoor green oasis spaces for gathering and relaxation, as a respite in this active and vibrant neighborhood.