Originally called Tompkins Park, Von King Park was founded in 1871 and is one of Brooklyn's very first parks. The…More park was renamed in 1985 after Herbert Von King (1912-1985), a longstanding and beloved community leader, considered during his time the "Mayor of Bedford-Stuyvesant."
Von King Park is a 7.82-acre town square cradled between Greene, Marcy, Lafayette and Tompkins Avenues. Over the years, the park has gone through many changes as the borough changed, from serving as a welcome and lively escape from the urban grind, to a gathering place for unsavory characters, and then back again to a community center and a family, sports and cultural arts magnet.
The park's landscaping could use some improvement, but it is a regular hangout for skateboarders, joggers and parents with small children. Other benefits include a nicely manicured baseball field, a small basketball court, two handball courts, two playgrounds and an outdoor amphitheatre. In the center of the park sits the Von King Recreation Center which houses a mini petting zoo (reptiles, birds, turtles, rabbits and other small creatures), a computer center, an after-school center and a friendly and dedicated staff.
The H. Von King Cultural Arts Center is a central organ of the Herbert Von King Park in Bed-Stuy. It houses a mini…More petting zoo, with reptiles, birds, turtles, rabbits and other small creatures; a computer center; an after-school center that provides homework assistance; and an arts and crafts program, all run by a friendly and dedicated staff.
Annual membership is $50 for adults, $10 for seniors and free for children 18 or younger. Membership provides access to the center's indoor recreational facilities, as well as its programs and workshops geared toward teens and children, including drama, culinary arts, ceramics, martial arts and dance. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm - 6pm the center offers a "Teens at Parks" program, focusing on planning for parenthood. Monday through Wednesday, from 4:30pm - 6pm, the center offers a "Fit for Life" exercise program for teens and adults.
Other programs, such as interval training and yoga, run on a short-term basis and are free to the public.