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Van Cortlandt Stadium

Located along Broadway and West 242 Street, this stadium complex was among the development projects undertaken by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a massive economic recovery program initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s and 40s following the Depression. The 3,000–seat Van Cortlandt Stadium opened in 1939 with Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and Parks Commissioner Robert Moses presiding over opening ceremonies that included track events and an exhibition football game between Manhattan College and Fordham University, institutions which continue to use Van Cortlandt Park for their athletic programs.

The stadium complex also holds tennis courts, handball courts, baseball diamonds, drinking fountains and bathrooms. A quarter–mile running track was reconstructed in 1998 and a synthetic turf infield was installed in 2009. The building is in need of significant restoration to make its 15,000 square feet water–tight with insulated walls, so the facility can be used for programming and office space.

Location and history

The land around Van Cortlandt Stadium, as well as the adjacent Kingsbridge Green and Southwest Playground, was originally a freshwater marsh. Tibbetts Brook, which runs south from Westchester to Van Cortlandt Lake, is one of the last remnants of the former marsh. Originally called Mosholu by an Algonquin Native American tribe that lived on the current Parade Ground site, Tibbetts Brook gets its most recent name from George Tippett, owner of land in Riverdale and Van Cortlandt Park in 1668. The freshwater wetland reached its present shape after the construction of the Van Cortlandt Golf Course in 1894, the Henry Hudson Parkway in 1936, the Van Cortlandt Stadium in 1939, and the Major Deegan Expressway in 1956.