Housing Complex

Upgrades at “Needle Park”


D.C. history lesson time!

What sweet urban oasis was dubbed "Needle Park" due to rampant drug use? Our east-of-the-river expert doesn't know.

But apparently it's Marvin Gaye Park, formally Watts Branch Park,  in Northeast.

The park is currently undergoing a huge revitalization, including "state-of-the-art playground equipment, a Marvin Gaye Amphitheater, the restoration of Watts Branch stream and 1.6 miles of newly-rebuilt hiker/biker trails."

Earlier this year, a street nearby was also renamed for Marvin Gaye, a native son to the Deanwood area. A special ribbon-cutting event for the new playground equipment is planned for next month, August 20.

Image by Permanently Scatterbrained, Flickr Creative Commons

  • Adalamania

    They have tried so many times to fix that park. It was renamed, liked 3 times. I volunteered to work on a tile mosaic mural art project done across the street from the park through Parks and People, and there were junkies everywhere, around the children, coming back and forth through the ad hoc art center that had been installed in an abandoned diner across the street from it -- it was just a real shame the children had nowhere to go.

    To add to it, the core group of artists that spearheaded that project to assist in revitalizing the playground just disappeared off the face of the earth after the celebration of the mural project, at which time one of Gaye's widows showed up in a limo with a bundle of roses for herself. Besides all of that oddness, I am really glad to hear something is happening over there.

  • Keith

    I jog through the park on a weekly basis. It still has some rough spots (an occasional prostitute or two in the early mornings), but as a whole it is a hidden gem east of the river. Im glad to hear that even more improvements are underway.

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  • http://twitter.com/anc7c04 Deanwoodenizen

    Wow, Keith, I'm glad to hear about your physical activity in the park! I'm a resident in Deanwood within a 10-minute walk and to see it transform is inspiring. Consider joining the "Friends of Marvin Gaye Park" Facebook page to stay upt ot date and to pitch in with more positivity.