In a community that often has hair salons, Chinese takeout, chicken spots, and insufficient grocery stores within a mile radius of each other the Roy Wilkins Park gives residents something to look forward to. The park is not only a sports hub but also promotes wellness and houses the Black Spectrum Theater which showcases socially conscious dramas. Read on to know more.

Park History

Named after the former president of the NAACP, Roy Wilkins Park is much more than a recreation center. It’s a cultural touchstone, home to the Black Spectrum Theatre troupe that performs socially conscious dramas. It also has a four-acre vegetable garden where kids and adults learn to grow their food.

The park is built on property that was once the St. Albans Naval Hospital. After the hospital closed in 1974 the government gave the land to the Veterans Administration, which transferred it to NYC in 1977 for use as a park. The family center opened in 1982, and the park was named after Roy Wilkins in 1982.

Sol Goodrich and his team at SQPA (Southern Queens Park Association) made the park what it is today. Their work was a true labor of love and they are the best example of a community coming together to make something happen. They deserve to have a monument to their efforts.

Park Amenities

The park is a popular sports destination with soccer fields, handball and tennis courts, running tracks, and an indoor pool. It is also home to the 425-seat Black Spectrum Theatre, which regularly puts on plays tackling race and community issues.

There are several playgrounds for kids at the park, and many people bring their dogs to play here too. In addition, there are several restaurants, cafés, and ice cream shops located in the vicinity of the park.

The park is easily accessible via public transit. The nearest subway station is Jamaica Center / Parsons Archer, about a 16-minute walk away. It is also easily reachable by bus, with the M60 and M104 buses stopping at the park frequently. For directions to Roy Wilkins Recreation Center from your location, use the Moovit App or check out our detailed Map and guide. Check it out here.

Park Activities

The park contains the Roy Wilkins Recreation Center, a community center with an indoor swimming pool, and various outdoor sports facilities. It is a sports lovers paradise, especially for basketball and tennis players, who flock to the park’s courts in droves. It also features a running track and a playground for children.

Outside the center is the African Courtyard, containing 400-pound medallions of figures like Ralph Bunche and Shirley Chisholm, as well as the Black Spectrum Theater, which can seat hundreds of people. It often hosts plays addressing social and community issues.

The park is home to the Southern Queens Park Association (SQPA), which coordinates and provides comprehensive programs for children, youth, adults, families, and seniors. It aims to positively impact and enhance the quality of life in and around the 54-acre Southern Queens-Roy Wilkins Park.

Park Events

Named after a civil rights leader and former president of the NAACP, Roy Wilkins Park is more than just another city park. In addition to sports fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a large indoor pool, the park is also home to the Black Spectrum Theater, a 425-seat space devoted to the performance of socially conscious dramas. The park even features a four-acre vegetable garden, a rare space in a busy urban environment.

Thousands of reggae music fans flocked to the park for the annual Groovin in the Park festival this past summer. Chronixx, a rising reggae star who has been compared to the Dennis Brown energy and Bob Marley vibe wowed fans with his conscious hits. Australian pop-rock legends Air Supply closed out the show.

The park is currently undergoing major renovations. New York City Councilman I. Daneek Miller joined community leaders and NYC Parks officials on Friday, Dec. 17 to announce that the city will invest $92 million in a brand-new recreation center at Roy Wilkins Park. The new center will include a competition-sized indoor pool. Next blog post.



Driving directions from RJ’s Gutter Cleaning to Roy Wilkins Park

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