In 1895, the city of Brooklyn acquired about 144-acres of marshland for a park in this waterside neighborhood of settlers from many countries. Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot planned to transform the marsh into a 50-acre tidal saltwater lagoon surrounded by plantings, concert grove, playgrounds and other community amenities, abutting Fort Hamilton and with views over the Narrows. Simultaneously, the firm was planning a parkway to follow the shoreline which would connect to this park. Lack of funds and public health concerns over mosquitos in the park’s marshlands curtailed this development.
In 1911, Brooklyn Park’s landscape architect Charles Lay sought John Charles Olmsted’s advice to redesign the space transforming the lagoon into a 16-acre freshwater lake for boating and skating. Again, these plans did not materialize, although bathhouses were built for beach use. After WWI, the marsh was filled with dredgings from the harbor, the resulting space quickly becoming a golf course, expanding the small 9-hole course that was already making use of nearby land. Between 1924 and 1934 more interior land parcels were acquired. With the development of the subway this park became a more accessible destination.
Today the park retains little of Olmsted’s design, though it remains a popular destination. Surrounded by a dense neighborhood in the shadow of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, with the Belt Parkway and Shore Parkway along its southern end, Dyker Beach Park consists of a 217-acre 18-hole golf course, privately managed, with other recreational facilities for baseball, football, soccer and tennis managed by the Parks Department.