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Kingsbridge Green

Kingsbridge Green is located at the southwest corner of Van Cortlandt Park, at the intersection of Broadway and Van Cortlandt Park South. It was an asphalt baseball field until a $1.4 million renovation provided by Council Member June M. Eisland brought in landscaping, benches, play equipment with safety surfacing and a statue of a coyote. Parks erected the coyote statue to commemorate the sighting of a female coyote on the Major Deegan Expressway on February 9, 1995. There have been many more coyote sightings since.

Like the nearby neighborhood, Kingsbridge Green is named for the first bridge to connect Manhattan to the mainland. Frederick Philipse constructed the King’s Bridge in 1693 and he charged high tolls for the use of the bridge. Benjamin Palmer and Jacob Dyckman built a second bridge in 1759 to avoid paying the high tolls charged by Philipse. During his retreat from the battle of Harlem Heights in 1776, General George Washington used both the King’s Bridge and Freebridge to escape to White Plains. Kingsbridge Avenue, which ran north from the King’s Bridge, was also an essential artery during the Revolutionary War.

Farmers inhabited the region around Kingsbridge until the 1850s and 1860s when industry and railroads extended north from New York City. The Johnson Iron Foundry, near Spuytin Duyvil Creek at the northernmost tip of Manhattan, built munitions for the Union Army during the Civil War and many Irish laborers working on the Hudson River Railroad settled in Kingsbridge. The 1908 extension of the Interborough Rapid Transit (subway) system brought a new wave of immigration and in 1916 the Spuytin Duyvil Creek was filled in and the King’s Bridge taken down. The Kingsbridge Historical Society has preserved some of the original span from a 1960 excavation under Marble Hill Avenue between West 228th and West 230th Streets.

Indian Field

Indian Field is located in Van Cortlandt Park along East 233rd Street between Jerome Avenue and Van Cortlandt Park East. The City of New York acquired this parkland in 1888, but it did not name this field in honor of its long–time residents until 1913. Slightly north of this area is the Stockbridge Indian Memorial, which commemorates Chief Abraham Ninham and 17 Mohican Indians who died here during a mission to aid the Americans in the Revolutionary War.

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Healy Field

Healy Field is located near Van Cortlandt Park East and Kepler Avenue in Van Cortlandt Park. Originally known as Kepler Field, it honors Sean Healy an assistant district attorney and Woodlawn native. Born in 1960, Healy was the youngest of five children and an avid baseball player in the Wood–Lean Instructional League; a program for boys and girls aged five to seven from the Woodlawn and McLean Heights neighborhoods.

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Kelly Fields

The northwest corner of Van Cortlandt Park is home to Kelly Fields, named in honor of Frank Kelly, a devoted North Riverdale community leader, whose local contributions extend beyond his unduly short life. An attorney by profession, Kelly founded the North Riverdale Civic Association and was a member of Community Planning Board 14, now Community Board 8. Kelly died of a heart attack in July 1971 at the age of 33, prompting members of various organizations to seek an appropriate memorial to him. Located in the neighborhood that felt his influence the most, Kelly Fields was named by a local law in 1972, and dedicated in 1973.

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Parade Ground

The Van Cortlandt Park Parade Ground has been a center of activity for centuries. The completed Parade Ground contains ten cricket fields, six soccer fields, two baseball and two softball fields. The Parade Ground is encircled by a 1.5 mile running path with fitness stations throughout. To the immediate south are six tennis courts and the oldest building in the Bronx, the Van Cortlandt House Museum.

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