August 24, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Unveils New Entrance Gateway at Marsha P. Johnson State Park

Governor Hochul Unveils New Entrance Gateway at Marsha P. Johnson State Park

The Ornamental Gateway At The Kent Avenue/North Eighth Street Entrance Will Welcome Visitors Into The Park

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of a new gateway entrance to Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Brooklyn. The park honors Marsha P. Johnson, a Transgender woman of color who was a pioneer of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement, born 78 years ago today. This bold and artful park entrance gateway is intended to communicate Marsha P. Johnson's spirit and legacy and complements the park and surrounding neighborhood.

"Marsha P. Johnson was a pioneer who took a stand for justice, fought for equal rights, and ultimately altered the trajectory of New York State history," Governor Hochul said. "This new gateway entrance will allow visitors to pay tribute to her contributions to this state and country while enjoying the greenery of Brooklyn and sweeping Manhattan skyline views.”

The $2.3 million ornamental gateway at the Kent Avenue/North Eighth Street entrance will welcome visitors into the Brooklyn park. The gateway builds on other completed improvements to the park including extensive new landscaping - including native species perennial gardens and 'Marsha's hillside' to honor her love of nature; a new great lawn; dozens of new trees; permeable pathways; new park furnishings; permanent interpretive panels documenting Marsha's life, work, and community; a Park House to host educational and community programming (including much needed park restrooms); and a substantial site-wide stormwater management system to improve drainage throughout the park.

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “Marsha P. Johnson was a trailblazer that led the fight for equal rights and justice for all, and this new gateway is an amazing tribute that honors her legacy. As the first State Park in New York to honor an LGBTQ person and Transgender woman of color, this new gateway provides all visitors with a unique connection to reflect on the varied and diverse stories of the many people and places of New York State.”

Assemblymember Emily Gallagher said, "The new gateway to Marsha P. Johnson State Park is a gorgeous addition to our community, a welcoming portal to the beauty and tranquility of this public waterfront space, and a vibrant tribute to the life and legacy of its namesake. On what would have been her 78th birthday, we reaffirm our commitment to the principles of Marsha's life and legacy, and the struggle for Black, queer and trans liberation. I extend my gratitude to the artists and artisans, Marsha's family, friends and fellow activists, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for their thoughtful engagement and ongoing work to bring this vision to life."

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said, “Marsha P. Johnson State Park is a monument to Black, queer, and trans liberation; it is a tribute to beauty and nature; and it is a reminder that our work to create a Brooklyn for all is ongoing. I am excited that today this beautiful park gained an equally joyous gateway. Thank you to New York State Parks for making this tribute to Marsha P. Johnson even more special. And to the North Brooklyn parks advocates — I am grateful for your efforts to care for the park, helping to ensure it remains a green refuge for and by the people who call our borough home.”

Councilmember Lincoln Restler said, "I’m thrilled to celebrate the unveiling of the new gateway to Marsha P. Johnson State Park and I want to thank the New York State Department of Parks for incorporating feedback from our community. As we honor the legacy of this trans activist and trailblazer on what would have been her 78th birthday, this gateway warmly welcomes our neighbors to the park and celebrates her enduring impact."

New York State Executive Chamber Deputy Director of LGBTQ+ Affairs Chanel Lopez said, “As the first trans woman of color ever to serve in the New York State Executive Chamber, celebrating a park named after a trans woman like Marsha 'Pay It No Mind' Johnson is an incredible milestone. Marsha P. Johnson represented what a true warrior is: she was a mother to many, a woman of resilience and a strong advocate who believed human rights were not only for some, but for all. She paved the way for so many, including myself. This park is made for the community by the community, and I am grateful to Governor Hochul and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for making this dream a reality."

New York State Executive Chamber Edie Windsor, Marsha P. Johnson, and Sylvia Rivera LGBTQ Fellow Jea Frasier said, "Marsha P. Johnson's legacy is not only about advancing civil rights for the trans community, but also making sure we remember as trans people that we deserve beauty and joy in our lives. Just like Marsha's flower crowns, this gateway is a testament to that beauty. It feels special to be welcomed into a state park bearing the name of a powerful Black trans woman who led the way for so many of us. I hope she is feeling delight looking down on it today."

Formerly East River State Park, the facility was renamed in Marsha P. Johnson's honor in February 2020. Known as an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and HIV/AIDS treatment, Marsha was a prominent figure of the Stonewall Uprising of 1969 and later established a shelter in New York City to support LGBTQ+ young people rejected by their families. She was born August 24, 1945 and died under suspicious circumstances in 1992 at age 46.

She was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, an activist with ACT UP, and a co-founder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) - later renamed as Strategic Transgender Alliance for Radical Reform (STARR) - along with Sylvia Rivera. Born in New Jersey, Marsha P. Johnson moved to Greenwich Village after graduating from high school. She turned her hardships and her struggles with mental illness into activism for others, participating in demonstrations with ACT UP and raising awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York City.

The seven-acre waterfront park located along the East River in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn offers visitors a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline, a delightful play area, and the green space provides many opportunities for recreation and relaxation. As the site of a 19th century shipping dock, visitors to Marsha P. Johnson State Park may also discover unique historical remnants like old cobblestone streets and railroad tracks embedded in concrete, as well as a popular dog run and beach. The park preserves and protects the many natural and historical resources along this beautiful city waterfront.

The park is free and open to the public and attracts approximately 1.6 million visitors each year. In addition to the great views of the East River and Manhattan, the park offers native meadow plantings among the historic rail yard remnants; passive recreation; picnicking and barbecues.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640


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