7. Von King Park (1839)

Von King Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, was laid out in 1839 after the Village of Brooklyn was incorporated as a city, making it one of the first parks in the history of Brooklyn. Originally called Tompkins Park, this site was constructed in 1870 and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. and Calvert Vaux, who also designed Central Park. The design was conceived as a residential space similar to Washington Square and Tompkins Square in Manhattan.

Little of the park’s original design is still present today. The center of the park was opened up in 1915 to accommodate crowds drawn there. A library was built the same year and a playground was built in 1927. Remnants of the original park include the 19th-century brownstones surrounding the park, and a rare southern magnolia tree planted around 1885 in front of a nearby brownstone. The tree was designated a city landmark in 1970, making it one of the city’s only living landmarks.