Sunday, September 8, 2013

Outings: Owl's Head Park

Although technically located across the border in Bay Ridge the park is designated as part of the Sunset Park Greenway by the Dept. of Transportation so it kind of belongs in a way partly to Sunset Park. It is one of the hidden gems in our area. Originally it was an estate that was left to the city to turn into a park. The following is a brief description from the Parks Department website;

Owl’s Head Park, Brooklyn
The Canarsie Indians and early Dutch settlers once fished along the shore and farmed the fertile soil that is now Owl’s Head Park. Henry C. Murphy, an Irish–American who held many political positions, including Mayor of Brooklyn and United States Congressman, built a mansion on the glacial ridge overlooking the harbor. In 1866 Eliphalet W. Bliss, a wealthy manufacturer, bought the estate and renovated the mansion, adding a horse stable and observatory tower known as “the castle.” In his will Bliss, who died in 1903, offered his property to New York City for less than its true value stipulating that it only be used for parkland, and in 1928 the Bliss estate was officially designated a public park. Though impressive at the time the City it, the land and structures fell into neglect with the onset of the Depression. Between 1934 and 1937 Federal funding helped convert the estate into a scenic park, incorporating the extensive collection of established trees and adding paths, playgrounds and play fields, park houses, and a seating plaza that took advantage of the magnificent vista from its southwesterly perimeter. A 2002 renovation of the park restored the historic Bliss gate that had been salvaged decades before.
The park affords a magnificent view of New York Bay and a bit of countryside in the middle of Brooklyn. As most people in the city tend to gravitate a mere seven blocks from where they live they rarely explore the boundaries beyond that. So if you live in Sunset Park and want to explore the borders of the nabe you can visit the park before winter sets in. I highly recommend it. The park is located by 68th street and Colonial road. You can walk the four blocks from fourth Avenue to it. If you live on 8th Avenue, you can take the B70 bus which stops on the  corner of 69th street (AKA Bay Ridge Ave.)