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Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways

Gerritsen Ballfields

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

Gerritsen Beach is part of the greater neighborhood of Marine Park, and takes its name from Dutch colonist Wolphert Gerritsen, one of the first settlers of the land. Gerritsen built a gristmill on what is now called Gerritsen Creek in the latter half of the 17th century. The mill was in continuous operation until 1889, and it was destroyed by fire in 1935. Gerritsen Creek, a freshwater stream, extended about twice as far inland as it does today, until 1920, when its course north of Avenue U was converted into an underground storm drain. The creek was probably a favorite hunting and fishing spot for Native Americans living in the nearby Keshawchqueren village. Archaeological excavations in Marine Park have revealed food preparation pits dating from 800 to 1400 C.E. which contain deer and turtle bones, oyster shells, and sturgeon scales.

Gerritsen Creek continues to supply Marine Park’s salt marsh with fresh water, which helps the marsh support a wide range of organisms. Broad expanses of fertile salt marsh, meadows adorned with wildflowers, sandy dunes held in place by beach plants, and jungle-like thickets of shrubs and vines dominate the landscape of Marine Park. Myrtle warblers, grasshopper sparrows, cotton-tailed rabbits, ring-necked pheasants, horseshoe crabs, and oyster toad fish are a small sampling of the animals that inhabit these plant communities and live in or around Gerritsen Creek.

Gerritsen Ballfields includes three baseball fields, two athletic fields for soccer and football and one Little League field. This site underwent a $192,000 renovation sponsored by Council Member Herbert E. Berman in 1993. The park area also supports a mini airport for model planes located at Seba Street and Gerritsen Avenue.

Directions to Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways

Know Before You Go

There are currently 4 service interruptions affecting access within this park.

ParkTribute Park

Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, this park is closed until further notice.

BeachesRockaway Beach and Boardwalk

The area of Rockaway Beach from Beach 116th Street to Beach 109th Street will be temporarily closed as the US Army Corps of Engineers begins sand moving operations. Once work begins in this area, we expect the closure to last approximately one week.

More information about the Army Corps’ work to replenish Rockaway Beach is available on their NY District website.


BeachesRockaway Beach and Boardwalk

Work is starting on the Rockaway Boardwalk Reconstruction Project. Read our April 2014 update for more information.
Anticipated Completion: Spring 2014

PlaygroundsSeba Playground

Seba Playground will be closed to reconstruct the current Seba Tot Lot into a playground for children of all ages. The new design will enlarge the toddler area by adding a custom spray shower, seating, and two new tot play units. Additional play spaces will also be added for 5 to 12 year olds, and will include a large accessible play unit, a second spray shower and seating area. These two play areas will be joined by 15 additional swings for both age groups. The site will also feature an accessible drinking fountain, attractive plantings, and a bicycle rack.
Anticipated Completion: Spring 2014

Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways Weather

  • Sun
    Sunny
    56°F
  • Mon
    Mostly Sunny
    58°F
  • Tue
    Chance Showers
    62°F
  • Wed
    Partly Sunny
    59°F

7-day forecast

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