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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.