Donald J. Trump State Park is indeed named for the current president of the United States, who in 2006 donated the land to the state after he couldn’t obtain the necessary approvals from the Town of Yorktown to build a – wait for it - private golf course.
At the time of the donation, Trump claimed the property was worth $100 million and used it as a tax write-off.
Since then the “park” has sat undeveloped. It is 436 acres of forest, open meadows and large wetlands, as well as several dilapidated and graffiti-covered buildings and weed-choked tennis courts.
The state officially closed the park in 2010, and it is no longer listed on the website of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), which remains in control of the land, although Trump tried unsuccessfully to regain control of the land after its closure.
So while the park is technically off-limits, a sign on the nearby Taconic State Parkway still urges passersby to visit Donald J. Trump State Park.
In 2015, then-state senator Daniel Squadron of Brooklyn was the first to suggest stripping the president’s name from the land when he introduced the aforementioned Anything But Trump Act.
Several other names were suggested to replace Trump, including Peter Salem, an African-American man who fought in the Revolutionary War and who many historians believe was Muslim, as well as folk singer Pete Seeger.
After Squadron introduced his legislation, Trump suggested, again, that the state just give the land back to him. It was a demand refused.
The bill never gained much support or traction, but in 2017, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic of Queens re-introduced it, suggesting the park be renamed for Heather Heyer, the woman who died when a car plowed into a group of people protesting the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
In 2018, Rozic reintroduced the legislation with State Senator Brad Hoylman of Manhattan, but it never made it out of committee. So they tried again this year, but this time they paid a visit to the controversial park hoping to drum up support. And they sent us photos of their field trip!
They argue that the Declaration of Policy of OPRHP states that “state parks should foster and strengthen the sense of purpose, well-being and identity of the citizens of this state.”
“Having a park named after you is an honor Donald Trump doesn't deserve,” said Hoylman in a statement. “It's time for New York to take a stand against his racism and divisiveness by renaming this state park.”
It’s unlikely that the new bill will go much further than previous efforts to rename the park, but given that the “park” is really just a couple of signs, wouldn’t a fly-by-night clandestine effort with a couple of chainsaws essentially serve the same purpose in the long run?
Not that we’re suggesting anything illegal or improper!