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There will be no name change for Hell’s Kitchen Park. Elke Fears, President of The 47-48th Street Block Association, told W42ST this afternoon: “We were just informed by the Parks Department that there will be no name change. This is such wonderful news — and a great win — for the Hell’s Kitchen community. Our thanks to the Parks Department for listening to us.”

Hell’s Kitchen Park’s name is safe after NYC Parks reversed their decision.

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver reversed his decision to rename the park the Lorraine Hansburry Park after pressure from residents. “In response to the Hell’s Kitchen community’s concern about what they believe to be broad erasure of the neighborhood’s name and character, we have decided to restore the Hell’s Kitchen Park. We have decided to honor Lorraine Hansberry at a planned site in the same neighborhood, on the same street, that is yet constructed — it will be known as Lorraine Hansberry Plaza when complete,” said NYC Parks Spokesperson Crystal Howard.

The location of the new Lorraine Hansberry Plaza will be across 10th Avenue from Hell’s Kitchen Park.

The plan to wipe out the Hell’s Kitchen name was part of the New York City Parks renaming project which was set up to “help us take another visible step in the fight to end systemic racism in our city!” The Parks Department asked park goers to submit their suggestions to rename a park or park space for a prominent Black historical figure or someone who has impacted New York City or your neighborhood.

On Monday, residents reacted angrily to the announcement by NYC Parks to rename Hell’s Kitchen Park with immediate effect and with no community consultation.

“Would Lorraine Hansberry want her name to replace a name which celebrates the identity of a neighborhood, a community family of immigrants and artists and exiles seeking a better life? Would we do better to honor her by being true to her vision?” said Jean-Daniel Noland in a letter drafted to oppose the plan.

The new Lorraine Hansberry Plaza site is currently owned by the Department of Environmental Protection, but once developed NYC Parks will manage it.

Plans for the DEP Site on 10th Avenue that will now be called the Lorraine Hansberry Plaza.

Lorraine Hansberry was a playwright and writer who died in 1965. She was the first African-American female author to have a play performed on Broadway. Her best known work, the play A Raisin in the Sun, highlights the lives of Black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago.

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7 Comments

  1. It’s good to see something like this come to a quick and amicable resolution. While I think the Parks Department originally made an error, I give them credit for listening to feedback and making a quick reversal decision. I’m also glad that the solution should satisfy the desires of those who wanted to keep the original name and those who wished to honor Lorraine Hansberry with a park name!

  2. How ’bout a DOGRUN in the new
    Lorraine Hansbury Park? Not a good
    look to have TWO parks so close to
    each other without a DOG RUN.
    Maybe with a non~asphalt paving.

  3. Thanks to Elke and JD for pulling us together and having a productive discussion with a plan in mind. All of us were pretty upset because once again, our community was not consulted about something of import. However, when Parks got wind of the organized community, they quickly re-evaluated and understood. Good outcome and was glad to be part of such a pro active broad coalition.

  4. This is a great use of the vacant lot but the parks department is in denial about how much residents want and need dog runs. It’s a shame when you consider how much they bring the community together.

  5. I can’t remember when the park was established or named “Hell’s Kitchen Park” but I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 41 years and never knew it even had a name until this renaming happened. I wish the same energy given to this minute issue can be used to get our hood out of this violent, drug filled, mentally unstable, environment we now live in. A park name?

  6. Great to see this thoughtful and swift result of community + journalism. Thanks for your reporting!

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