3. Marine Park Preserve
Marine Park is Brooklyn’s largest park, located on the borough’s southern shore. Marine Park is also the name of the surrounding neighborhood, home of the wonderfully preserved Golden Gate Fancy Fruits and Vegetables shop, whose owner John Cortese passed away in 2020, and the historic Lott House. The area is home to Gerritsen Creek, which housed a grist mill built in the mid-1600s, and Dead Horse Bay. The Marine Park Preserve, a Forever Wild location, sits near the man-made Mau Mau Island, and a plan to create a grand park on the shore won the silver medal at the 1939 Olympics in Berlin when the event had a town planning competition.
The preserve consists primarily of salt marshes by Gerritsen Creek, the westernmost freshwater inlet of Jamaica Bay. The bay is known for over 325 species of birds, specifically waterfowl, and 50 butterfly species. The preserve is a prime habitat for ospreys, as well as species like cotton-tailed rabbits and ring-necked pheasants. In addition to salt marshes, the preserve also houses sand dunes and meadows filled with wildflowers.