Must-See Fort Greene and Clinton Hill
by Caitlin Dover, 10/16/2013
Photo: Alexander Thompson
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Fort Greene Park
With its grassy slopes and spreading trees, this welcoming green space could easily be described as the heart of Fort Greene. Or, like Walt Whitman, who was instrumental in the park's creation, you could call it the neighborhood's "lungs." Fort Greene Park certainly gives locals and visitors alike a place to breathe deeply—some do so with yoga on the hilltop, while others opt for a bench and a quiet coffee while taking in the park's soothing vistas.
Those views come courtesy of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who designed the landscape a couple decades after the space was designated Brooklyn's first park in 1847. The park gets its name from a fort that was in use during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812; the towering monument at the park's apex, designed by seminal Gilded Age architect Stanford White, acts as a beacon to the neighborhood.
In the summer, Fort Greene Park is often host to open-air music: in recent years, the park has echoed to the sounds of Mos Def, Common and Soul Summit's Sunday dance parties. Even without a show, there's plenty to do, whether you feel like hitting the tennis courts or joining a game of soccer. Those on the sidelines who'd like some refreshment should try Fort Grace Ice Cream & Sweet Shop—located just a few blocks away at The General Greene. Stop by for a few scoops of their homemade treat in flavors that range from the traditional to the experimental: "beer chip," anyone?