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Van Cortlandt Park

Healy Field

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This ball field honors Sean Healy (1960-1990) an assistant district attorney and Woodlawn native. Born on August 24, 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.

Sean Healy attended the Bronx High School of Science, and graduated from the State University of New York at Albany in 1982 and Washington and Lee University School of Law in 1985. Upon graduation, Healy joined the United States Navy and was appointed a lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps from August 1985 to May 1989. He served in the Phillippines and traveled to Calcutta, India to do charity work in Mother Teresa’s home for the dying before returning to the Bronx on January 16, 1990. Healy remained in the Navy reserve and was appointed an assistant district attorney for the Bronx. Healy was killed in a drive-by shooting on August 30, 1990.

Healy Field is located near Van Cortlandt Park East and Kepler Avenue in Van Cortlandt Park. Around 20,000 years ago, New York was buried beneath massive glaciers. When the ice receded, it left behind the characteristic sketch of Van Cortlandt Park: steep ridges, smooth hillsides, and open flats. The Wiechquaskeck Lenape Native American tribe occupied this site when, in 1639, the Dutch East India Company brought the first Europeans to settle in the Bronx.

In 1646, Dutchman Adriaen Van Der Donck (1620-1655) became the first single owner of what is now Van Cortlandt Park. The Van Cortlandt name was first associated with the tract of land bounded by the modern Yonkers City Line between Broadway, Jerome Avenue, and Van Cortlandt Park East in 1699 when Jacobus Van Cortlandt bought the property. Jacobus’s son Frederick built the Van Cortlandt Mansion in 1748 and their family lived on the land until the 1880s. The City of New York acquired this parkland in 1888, but it did not name it in honor of its long-time residents until 1913. With facilities for football, baseball, softball, soccer, cricket, tennis, golf, swimming, horseback riding, running, and hiking Van Cortlandt Park is one of the city’s most popular parks.

This ballfield was originally known as Kepler Field, for the nearby avenue. In 1991, Council Member June M. Eisland introduced a bill to rename the field with the support of the Boys & Girls Club and the Woodlawn Heights Taxpayers & Community Association. Healy Field was officially dedicated on the opening day of the Wood-Lean League’s 1991 season. Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer provided $250,000 for a 1995 renovation of the field, which included a new grandstand, fence, drinking fountain, plants and shrubbery.

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Van Cortlandt Park Weather

  • Thu
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    84°F
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    86°F
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    85°F
  • Tue
    Mostly Sunny
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