A lovely day in Brooklyn’s Tompkins Park in 1887

William Merritt Chase depicts late 19th century Brooklyn parks in several of his paintings.

He lived with his family on Marcy Avenue at the time, so it’s no surprise that he painted scenes like this one from Tompkins Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Tompkins, named after a local abolitionist, was the first park established by the city of Brooklyn and laid out by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted.

Opened in the 1870s, it’s now called Herbert Von King Park, after a Bed-Stuy community leader.

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10 Responses to “A lovely day in Brooklyn’s Tompkins Park in 1887”

  1. rocco dormarunno(akafivepointsguy) Says:

    Beautiful painting! And after years and years of crime and decline, Von King Park is on the rebound. This photo from the BedStuy Patch is testimony to its renewal. http://bed-stuy.patch.com/listings/herbert-von-king-park#photo-2739110

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks for the photo! It’s not as well-known as Fort Greene Park, but it has its beauty and Victorian grace.

  3. James Says:

    My father who would be 112 today lived on Marcy Avenue as a child. He took me to Tompkins Park on the way to Bedford Avenue to watch the” Decoration Day “parade. I was probably 7 years old at the time and remember the Legion guys marching with bright silver coloured helments. I really don’t remember too much about the park. Later as an adult, with a job that took me through the area, it was a place to avoid.

  4. rocco dormarunno(akafivepointsguy) Says:

    It was a place to avoid for a quarter century, at least. Be grateful that you have such a terrific, magical image of the place!

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    I think it’s on the way back though!

  6. dogooderdame Says:

    And there is a nice community garden across the street. I was there at the end of August and the park and garden are very nice. The baseball field has an interesting design.

  7. jjocd Says:

    I love this park! I live two blocks away, My dog Ozzy and I are always meandering through it.

  8. A painter’s blurry, enchanting, elusive New York | Ephemeral New York Says:

    [...] 1899, with encouragement from William Merritt Chase, he moved to New York City,” states oxfordgallery.com. Here he opened a studio, became [...]

  9. Zineguy Says:

    The first park opened by the City of Brooklyn wasn’t Tompkins. It was Commodore John Barry Park.

  10. Dkrllr Says:

    Does anyone know what church steeple is pictured in the Chase painting in Tompkins Park?

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