On August 24, 2020, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the dedication of Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Brooklyn. Formerly known as the East River State Park, the newly christened space is one of eight state parks in New York, and the first named in honor of a transgender woman of color and member of the LGBTQ community.
Johnson, who died in 1992 at age 46, was an activist and advocate for LGBTQ civil rights and HIV/AIDS treatments. A leader of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising and founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, she went on to establish a shelter for LGBTQ youth.
By next summer, improvements to the seven-acre waterfront park (which currently has a beach, meadow, dog run, and a few other existing amenities) will include a new 1,200-square-foot building with classroom space and public bathrooms; an “outdoor gallery” with artwork and informational materials about Johnson and the LGBTQ rights movement; new furniture; and upgrades to stormwater management systems and other infrastructure.
State Parks has said it will consult with the city’s LGBTQ community on design and content of the new artworks. For now, the first phase of public art includes decorative banners on perimeter fencing in two locations with depictions of Johnson.
Marsha P. Johnson State Park is one of eight State Parks in New York City.