Coffey Park, like a lot of other city properties, such as other parks, school and housing sites, started off as less desired marshy land, prone to flooding. Over the years the place was used as a skating pond in the winter and as a dump for ashes and other waste.
On November 18, 1892, the City of Brooklyn purchased a 5.284-acre tract of land for $131,249. This price was considered very high for the time. Accusations were made of insider-trading - the lots being sold to city of Brooklyn at a much higher price than they had recently been assessed at. One of the people accused of profiteering was the areas powerful Michael Coffey, alderman of the 12 Ward - said to have "found the Twelfth ward mud and made it marble." Despite this, the park, which officially opened in June of 1901, was named Coffey Park (although over the years it has also been known as Red Hook Park).
The Park was expanded on September 20, 1907 with the addition of a 2.298-acre parcel. A small piece of the current day park remained in private hands until June 11, 1943 when the City was added to the park on June 11, 1943, the City acquired a 0.689-acre parcel on Pioneer Street between Richards Street and Dwight Street by local law.
85 Richards Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
From the NYC Parks website:
"Coffey Park, like nearby Coffey Street, is named for Michael J. Coffey (1839-1907), the former state senator, alderman, and district leader representing Red Hook. Coffey was born in 1839 in County Cork, Ireland, and then immigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of five. He went to school in Red Hook and soon began working in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. When the Civil War began, Coffey joined the United States Navy. He served on the gunboat Monticello, and quickly earned the respect of his commanding officer. At the conclusion of the war, Coffey returned to Red Hook and became the Democratic district leader for Red Hook Point. The Red Hook district was locally known as “Coffeyville” by the end of his 39-year tenure as district leader."