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Clement Clarke Moore Park

Clement Clarke Moore Park

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

Scholar and poet Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) is the namesake of two New York City parks, each located on land previously owned by his family. The first is a playground in Newtown, Queens, known as the Clement Clarke Moore Homestead, because it was the site of the estate acquired by Clement’s great-great-grandfather, Captain Samuel Moore, in 1652. The second is this playground, located on a former farm purchased by Clement’s grandfather, Captain Thomas Clarke, in 1750. A retired officer of the British Army, Captain Clarke named his property "Chelsea" in reference to London’s Royal Chelsea Hospital for old soldiers. His daughter and son-in-law extended the acreage to what is now 19th Street, Eighth Avenue, 24th Street, and the Hudson River.

Born in New York City, Clement Clarke Moore spent most of his life on the Chelsea estate. He was tutored at home by his father and graduated from Columbia College with a B.A. in 1798, an M.A. in 1801, and an honorary LL.D. in 1829. Moore donated the land for the nearby General Theological Seminary and served as a professor of Oriental and Greek literature there from 1823 until he retired in 1850. Fluent in six languages, he published numerous scholarly works, including a Hebrew lexicon, a biography, and several treatises and addresses.

Moore is best known as the author of the delightful children’s poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." He composed the poem for his wife Catherine Elizabeth Taylor Moore and their children in 1822. A family friend had the poem published anonymously in the Troy Sentinel the following year. With subsequent publication in newspapers, magazines, and illustrated editions, the poem became a classic popularly known as "The Night before Christmas." Moore died in Newport, Rhode Island in 1863.

Ninety-nine years later (in 1962), the West 400 Block Association 23-22-21 initiated the process to improve the neglected property at the corner of Tenth Avenue and W. 22nd Street. The City of New York acquired the site in 1965 for use as a public park. With the cooperation of the Planning Commission, Parks, the Twenty-second Twenty-first Street Community Council, and local residents, plans were prepared by the architectural firm of Levine, Blumberg and Coffey. The playground opened on November 22, 1968, and it was named in memory of Clement Clarke Moore by local law in 1969.

Capital renovations to Clement Clarke Moore Park were completed in 1995. Improvements included a new perimeter fence, modular play equipment, safety surfacing, pavements, and transplanted trees. This lovely corner park is a favorite place for the people of Chelsea to celebrate one of the neighborhood’s most famous sons. Community members plant and maintain the flower beds, and the West 400 Block Association holds a variety of special events at the park. Every Christmastime, neighborhood residents gather to read the poem that begins with the familiar words:

‘Twas the night before Christmas,

when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring,

not even a mouse.

Scholar and poet Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) is the namesake of two New York City parks, each located on land previously owned by his family. The first is a playground in Newtown, Queens, known as the Clement Clarke Moore Homestead, because it was the site of the estate acquired by Clement’s great-great-grandfather, Captain Samuel Moore, in 1652. The second is this playground, located on a former farm purchased by Clement’s grandfather, Captain Thomas Clarke, in 1750. A retired officer of the British Army, Captain Clarke named his property "Chelsea" in reference to London’s Royal Chelsea Hospital for old soldiers. His daughter and son-in-law extended the acreage to what is now 19th Street, Eighth Avenue, 24th Street, and the Hudson River.

Born in New York City, Clement Clarke Moore spent most of his life on the Chelsea estate. He was tutored at home by his father and graduated from Columbia College with a B.A. in 1798, an M.A. in 1801, and an honorary LL.D. in 1829. Moore donated the land for the nearby General Theological Seminary and served as a professor of Oriental and Greek literature there from 1823 until he retired in 1850. Fluent in six languages, he published numerous scholarly works, including a Hebrew lexicon, a biography, and several treatises and addresses.

Moore is best known as the author of the delightful children’s poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." He composed the poem for his wife Catherine Elizabeth Taylor Moore and their children in 1822. A family friend had the poem published anonymously in the Troy Sentinel the following year. With subsequent publication in newspapers, magazines, and illustrated editions, the poem became a classic popularly known as "The Night before Christmas." Moore died in Newport, Rhode Island in 1863.

Ninety-nine years later (in 1962), the West 400 Block Association 23-22-21 initiated the process to improve the neglected property at the corner of Tenth Avenue and W. 22nd Street. The City of New York acquired the site in 1965 for use as a public park. With the cooperation of the Planning Commission, Parks, the Twenty-second Twenty-first Street Community Council, and local residents, plans were prepared by the architectural firm of Levine, Blumberg and Coffey. The playground opened on November 22, 1968, and it was named in memory of Clement Clarke Moore by local law in 1969.

Capital renovations to Clement Clarke Moore Park were completed in 1995. Improvements included a new perimeter fence, modular play equipment, safety surfacing, pavements, and transplanted trees. This lovely corner park is a favorite place for the people of Chelsea to celebrate one of the neighborhood’s most famous sons. Community members plant and maintain the flower beds, and the West 400 Block Association holds a variety of special events at the park. Every Christmastime, neighborhood residents gather to read the poem that begins with the familiar words:

‘Twas the night before Christmas,

when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring,

not even a mouse.

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