Posts Tagged ‘New York Ballparks’

Charlie Ebbets’s Field

January 17th, 2013

Ebbets Field was home to the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1913 until 1957. The ballpark was the brainchild of Dodgers owner Charlie Ebbet. He spent four years piecing together the land necessary to construct the ballpark when it became clear that the Dodgers’ home at Washington Park was no longer suitable.

Ebbets Field Post Card (Acacia Card Co. NY)

Located in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, the stadium’s front entrance was at the northeast corner of McKeever and Sullivan Place.

Entrance to Ebbets Field, McKeever and Sullivan Place (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

Ebbets Field Apartments, a housing project constructed pursuant to the Mitchell-Lama Program and rising 25 stories above the former playing field, now occupies the site.

Corner of McKeever and Sullivan Place Circa 2001

Although no part of the former ballpark remains, the apartment building does pay homage to the former occupant of the site. The front entrance of the building near the northwest corner of Bedford Avenue and Sullivan Place includes a marble plaque honoring Ebbets Field.

Ebbets Field Apartments Plaque

Dated 1962, the inscription states: “This is the former site of Ebbets Field.”

Plaque Honoring Ebbets Field

The memory of Jackie Robinson and the ballpark are honored with the Jackie Robinson Elementary School and Ebbets Field Middle School, both located opposite the ballpark site on McKeever Place. Both schools were built in the 1960’s.

Jackie Robinson Elementary School on McKeever Place

When Ebbets Field was constructed in 1912, much of the land and buildings surrounding the ballpark still had a small town feel.

Entrance to Ebbets Field Looking Toward McKeever Place (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

The ballpark’s opening in 1913 brought with it construction of block-long, one story brick buildings surrounding the site.

One Story Industrial Buildings Located One Block South of Ebbets Field on McKeever and Dating to Time of Ebbets Field

The right field corner of the ballpark was located at the northwest corner of Bedford Avenue and Sullivan Place.

Bedford Avenue and Sullivan Place, Ebbets Field’s Former Right Field Corner

The only portion of the ballpark not surrounded by grandstands was right field.

Right Field Wall Ebbets Field, Bedford Avenue (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

A brown brick wall with the letters “EBBETS FIELD”  runs parallel to former site of the right field wall along Bedford Avenue, approximately 15 feet from original wall’s location.

Parking Lot Located in Former Location of Right Field

Two buildings dating from the time of Ebbets Field remain on Bedford Avenue. The first, at the corner of Montgomery and Bedford, is a four-story walk up.

Four-story Walk Up at Coerner of Montgomery and Bedford

The second, attached to the four-story walk up at mid block, is a one story building currently housing a pharmacy.

Corner of Bedford Avenue and Sullivan Place with Rite Aid Pharmacy Located in Building that Dates to Ebbets Field

First base once ran parallel to Sullivan Place.

Former Location of  Ebbets Field First Base Grandstand Along Sullivan Place, Looking in Direction of Home Plate.

Across the street from the Ebbets Field Apartments on Sullivan Place are several one-story buildings that also date to the time of Ebbets Field.

Sullivan Place Across the Street from Former Site of Ebbets Field’s First Base

At the southwest corner of Sullivan Place and Bedford Avenue is a unique one story building that currently houses a Firestone Tire Store. This building also dates to the time of Ebbets Field. The corner of the building includes a mural and a painted tribute to New York City police officers.

Tire Store at Corner of Sullivan Place and Bedford Avenue

Much of the former site of right and center fields is a plaza located one story above the former playing field, on top of a parking garage.

Right Field Line Looking Toward Second Base

Up until at least 2001, a sign in the courtyard above what would have been the infield cautioned:

Please NO
Ball Playing
Dogs Allowed
Bicycle Riding
This Area For Tenants Of Ebbets Field Appts Only

Sign Located in Ebbets Field Apartments Near Former Location of Second Base, Circa 2001

Ebbets Field is one of the most storied lost ballparks. Unfortunately, no piece or artifact of the old ballpark remains at the site. However, just two miles south of the Ebbets Field Apartments, down Flatbush Avenue, is a flag pole that once sat in center field, now residing in front of the Barclay Center. For more information on the well-traveled flag pole, see: Ebbets Field Flag Pole.

The New York Mets current stadium, Citi Field, pays homage to Ebbets Field with a front entrance and rotunda that evoke the lost ballpark.

Citi Field, Home of the New York Mets

Should you find yourself with extra time before or after a Mets game, the former site of Ebbets Field is only 13 miles southwest of Citi Field down Grand Central Parkway and the Jackie Robinson Parkway. For any true fan of the National Pastime, it is well worth the trip.

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The Polo Grounds, Coogan’s Bluff, and the Brush Memorial Stairway

January 9th, 2013

The Polo Grounds was located in Harlem, New York, at 157th Street and 8th Avenue. Various incarnations of ballparks at that location were home to three different major league teams: the National League New York Giants from 1891 to 1957, the New York Yankees from 1913 to 1922, and the New York Mets in 1962 and 1963, as well as a team from the Players’ League in 1890 also known as the Giants) .   Prior to 1890, a sports venue known as the Polo Grounds was located in Manhattan near Central Park, and a second venue, also known as the Polo Grounds, was located at 155th Street and 8th Avenue on a plot adjacent to the Polo Grounds at 157th Street.

Postcard of the Polo Grounds Postcard Showing Newly Rebuilt Ballpark After Fire Destroyed the Original Ballpark (Success Postal Card Co., photo New York Times)

The original wooden ballpark at 157th Street was destroyed by fire in 1911 and a new concrete and steel ballpark was constructed on the site.

Postcard of the Polo Grounds (H. Pinkelstein & Sons, American Art Publishing)

The new Polo Grounds were the third concrete and steel ballpark in the country.

Polo Ground’s Concrete and Steel Construction (Library of Congress  Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

Coogan’s Bluff  (not to be confused with the movie of the same name starring Clint Eastwood) was located northwest of the Polo Grounds just beyond home plate at 155th Street and Edgecombe Avenue. The playing field of the Polo Grounds sat in Coogan’s Hollow

New York City Park Sign Advertising Coogan’s Bluff

Rock outcroppings just northwest of the ballpark at Harlem River Driveway (which dissects Coogan’s Bluff) provided an excellent vantage point for free viewing of at least portions of the ball field.

View of Polo Grounds From Coogan’s Bluff at Harlem River Driveway (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

Those rock outcroppings remain to this day along Harlem River Driveway, providing an excellent view now of Polo Grounds Towers.

Looking Southeast Toward Polo Grounds Tower No. 4 from Coogan’s Bluff and Harlem River Driveway

In 1913 a stairway at 157th Street and Edgecomb Avenue in Harlem was constructed to allow subway riders who departed the 155th Street station more direct access to the ballpark at Harlem River Driveway. That stairway remains, a lasting baseball relic of the Polo Grounds at its former site.

Stairway at 157th Street and Edgecomb Avenue.

The stairs, whose inscription states  “The John T. Brush Stairway Presented by the New York Giants,” was dedicated in 1913 to the former Giants’ owner.

“The John T. Brush Stairway Presented by the New York Giants”

The Brush Memorial Stairway emptied onto the sidewalk at Harlem River Driveway, allowing fans direct access into the Polo Grounds from Harlem River Driveway.

Polo Grounds and the Harlem River Driveway (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

A second stairway that would have taken fans north of the ballpark at ground level still exists alongside Harlem River Driveway.

Looking Northeast Down Harlem River Driveway and Stairway to Former Site of Polo Grounds

Old Yankee Stadium was located southeast of the Polo Grounds, just across the Harlem River.

Aerial View of Yankee Stadium and Polo Grounds (photo from stuffnobodycaresabout.com)

Aerial View of Old Yankee Stadium and the Polo Ground Towers

Aerial View of Old Yankee Stadium and the Polo Ground Towers

In 1923, Yankee Stadium was visible from inside the Polo Grounds, across the Harlem River.

Polo Grounds, Opening Day 1923, with Yankee Stadium Visible Beyond Center Field (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

Prior to its demise in 2009, Old Yankee Stadium was still visible from Coogan’s Bluff at Harlem River Driveway looking southeast past the Polo Grounds Towers.

View of Old Yankee Stadium Looking Beyond Former Site of Polo Grounds, Circa 2001

The Polo Grounds Towers, which were built on the ballpark’s former site and completed in 1968, consist of four high rise apartments with a total of over 1600 units.

Entrance to Polo Grounds Towers on 8th Avenue

A plaque marking the approximate location of home plate is located on a column of Tower No. 4.

Plaque Honoring Polo Grounds and Former Location of Home Plate

The apartment building located at 155 Edgecombe Avenue is visible from the former location of home plate looking back toward Coogan’s Bluff.

Plaque Marking Location of Home Pate, with Apartment Building at 555 Edgecombe Avenue in Background

A sliver of that same apartment building is visible in top right corner of the postcard below.

Postcard of the Polo Grounds Showing Buildings Lining Edgecombe Avenue on Coogan’s Bluff (Alfred Mainzer, NY, NY, Curteich-Chicago)

The New York Giants abandoned the Polo Grounds in 1957, moving to San Francisco and Seal Stadium in 1958 and then Candlestick Park in 1960. Subsequent to the Mets move to Shea Stadium in 1964, the Polo Grounds was demolished.

Polo Grounds During the 1912 World Series (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Although nothing remains at the actual ballpark site, the Brush Memorial Stairway does provide a link to the past. The stairway has sat in obscurity and disrepair for years, however an effort is now underway to restore the stairway and, with it, a piece of New York’s baseball past and baseball glory. See MLB.com article about restoration of John T. Brush Stairway [Editor’s Note: The Brush Memorial Stairway has been restored and is open for use. Woods surrounding the stairway have been turned into a small park with lighting, making the stairway quite accessible. A sign has been placed on Edgecombe Avenue at the entrance to the stairway.]

Polo Grounds During the 1913 World Series (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

 

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