Van Cortlandt Park New York City
Van Cortlandt Park – Tourist Attractions in New York City
Van Cortlandt Park
Van Cortlandt Park
Van Cortlandt Park is a large urban park in the Bronx, NY. It has an area of 1,146 acres, making it the third largest park in New York City, behind Pelham Bay Park and Flushing Meadows Park. It is operated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
The park was named for Stephanus Van Cortlandt, who was the first native born mayor of New York, and the Van Cortlandt family which was prominent in the area during the Dutch and English colonial periods. Contained on its property is the Van Cortlandt House Museum, the oldest building in the Bronx.
New York City came into possession of the land and established the park in 1888. It was during this time that many sections of the park were developed, playgrounds were added, and particularly overgrown areas made passable. Still, other sections of the park were left wild and pristine.
Robert Moses’ development plans in the 1930s called for the construction of the Henry Hudson Parkway and Mosholu Parkway to bisect Van Cortlandt Park and meet at a cloverleaf interchange about half a mile north of the center. The last remaining freshwater marsh in New York State was dredged and landscaped to accommodate construction.
The city’s fiscal crisis in the 1970s caused much of the park to fall into disrepair. Gradual improvements began taking place from the late 1980s through the mid-2000s.
The Van Cortlandt Golf Course, the nation’s first public golf course, opened in 1895 and is located on the park grounds. The “Parade Ground” north of the museum is one of New York’s principal cricket fields. A bicycling path runs through the woods between this lawn and the golf course, northward along Tibbets Brook and the former New York and Putnam Railroad line into Yonkers. Another runs east from the golf course’s clubhouse to connect to the Mosholu Parkway bike path. The Old Croton Aqueduct Trailway begins in Van Cortlandt Park.