From: "fred fep" luckyshow AT mindspring DOT com
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 2002 03:54:11 -0500
Subject: O.T. - Eastern Park, East New York
"mfpg.jpg" - image/jpeg, 284395 bytes, 1050x776 (24bit)
The hands of time writ and then they mosey on...
This is slightly on topic as Eastern Park was a baseball park, the Brooklyn
Dodgers ballpark in the Gay Nineties, and after this it became part of the
grade separation project and home plate is today under the large LIRR power
plant abandoned since, what, 1967?....so time do indeed move on.
And I reckon that Thanksgivings Day 1890, November 27th, was the largest
single day of combined traffic on the Long Island Railroad at East New York
stations because the big game was taking place at Eastern Park in 1890. The
most modern new ballpark, built by the upstart Player's League Brotherhood
League team the Brooklyn Wonders. So well situated at the new El, at rail
crossroads. On 11/27/1890 Yale beat Princeton 32-0 before an estimated 20 to
See this chart:
This big game had been going on in the NY area yearly for many years. First
in 1880 on Colonel Vanderbilt's Polo Grounds at 5th Avenue and 110th, other
times at St. George Cricket Grounds in Hoboken; in 1889 the big game took
part before as large a crowd at Berkeley Oval. This was on the south western
shore of The Bronx..Many of the late 19th century football fields would
become rail yards soon enough. Columbia in the early 1890's played their
home games at Columbia Oval at KingsBridge, another year at William's
Bridge; there was a field at Mott Haven, the Catholic Protectory had a
parade grounds in Throgg's Neck that may be under the bridge's towers today.
The record crowd mark would be shattered the next fall when over 40,000 saw
Yale again shut out Princeton 19-0 at the new Manhattan Field.
Manhattan Field had been the second Polo Grounds, when the NY baseball
Giants had to find a new home after the original Polo Grounds had to leave
their original home due to neighbors complaints about noise and rowdiness
started having an affect. The next Polo Grounds was up at the site near
Cougan's Bluff in 1889, the Player's League team, also the Giants played
next door at Brotherhood Park, centerfields meeting in center (!)
The Player's League caved the next year and the Giants moved into their
third Polo Grounds where at Brotherhood Park, their second Polo Grounds was
Manhattan Field was the first all-iron sports stadium. It was constructed by
the Manhattan Athletic Club It opened in 1891 to great fanfare. The problem
with this site was the bluffs above and the viaduct of the MacCombs Dam
Bridge, from whence 10,000 of the 40,000 would watch (parts of) the game for
free. This is why the Giants moved from this site so fast.
Anyway, you can see I am a repository of many kinds of useless and archaic
information....Football was a rough affair back then, the better games would
end 0-0, and the crowds would go mad for it, even as it was just a big muddy
mess, a lot of brawn with what was known as "Scientific Football" ..weird
stuff...Mass play, momentum plays, flying wedges and drop kicks...Two years
later in 1893 not only did Princeton finally score, they actually won 6-0
before a record crowd of 50,000.
This first era of big time football in New York City eased up after 1896.
Another annual game was the Harvard=Yale game that took place at
Springfield. A very large crowd, it may have been 80,000 attended the 1896
game which was so violent that yearly reforms for the next 20 years began to
"open up" the game.
See I told you this would be OT.
I will attach two plat maps of these three ballparks.
Manhattan Field hosted the first International track meet in 1894. It
inspired the Olympics movement.
You will notice the rail sidings at Eastern Park, this 1898 map is at the
exact point after Eastern Park had closed, the Dodgers had moved back to
Park Slope and a new Washington park (the one whose outside centerfield
clubhouse wall still stands.)
Was the LIRR expansions onto the site already planned or was there other
activities at this site in between?
the map with the Polo Grounds and Manhattan Field on it=note the New York
and Northern Station to the east of the arenas. and the Harlem Speedway, an
That area way back was considered quite scenic, even country,a s hard as it
is to believe now, this area with the multi Romanesque arched High Bridge,
the wooded cliffs and shores, the winding Harlem , it must have been like
going to look at the Golden Gate..