overview

Many New York City public parks and playgrounds are named in honor of prominent figures in New York City and American history.

Margaret Mead Green, in Manhattan, inadvertently honors an LGBT individual.

Header Photo
Credit: Foursquare.com.

History

Many New York City public parks and playgrounds are named in honor of prominent figures in New York City and American history. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project compiled a list of public parks and playgrounds named after gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals, several of which intentionally honor an LGBT individual. This list includes Margaret Mead Green, in Manhattan.

In 1979, the New York City Council passed a law naming the northwest section of Theodore Roosevelt Park, the park surrounding the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side, as Margaret Mead Green. It honors Margaret Mead (1910-1978), a cultural anthropologist who was a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia University, and became a famous personality through her speeches and work. The first of her 23 books was the best-selling Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), based on her field studies there. Mead served in a series of curatorial positions at the American Museum of Natural History between 1926 and 1978. As an anthropologist, she is best known for her studies of the peoples of Oceania, but she ventured into discussions of wide-ranging topics such as women’s rights, raising children, sexuality, and the environment. She co-authored A Rap on Race in 1971 with James Baldwin.

Mead was married three times to men, but also had relationships with women. One was with Ruth Benedict, who had been one of her professors at Columbia. Between 1955 and 1978, Mead lived and collaborated with anthropologist Rhoda Metraux.

Entry by Jay Shockley, project director (April 2024).

NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.

Sources

  1. “Margaret Mead,” Britannica, bit.ly/2MPg3Tp.

  2. “Margaret Mead,” Wikipedia, bit.ly/36GMpH1.

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