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Mapes Ballfield

Jacobo Field

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

Astin Jacobo (1929-2002), was an activist who fled his native Dominican Republic and came to settle in the Bronx in 1970. Here he worked striving to improve East Tremont in any way he could. This ballfield, which he struggled to create, stands as one of the many products of his dedication and love for his community.

Born on a sugarcane plantation in the Dominican Republic, his community work began in Consuelo, Dominican Republic in 1951 when he helped the Catholic church develop and organize the community. In the 1960s he became involved in union organizing and was branded a communist. Fearing for his life, Jacobo was forced to quickly flee his homeland, leaving his family behind. He came to the United States via Canada in 1970 and took up work as a janitor for in a local Catholic church. Acting on his belief that recreation gives youth a positive outlet for their energy, he suggested that the church open the gymnasium to the community. This is one early example of how Jacobo strove to improve his neighbor’s lives.

Jacobo served as president of the Crotona Community Coalition for 25 years, and his activism never ceased. He worked tirelessly as a member of Community Board 6, and his belief in the importance of maintaining strong families led him to fight for better housing and rent control. This mission was advanced through his involvement with Save-A-Generation, the Inter-Neighborhood Housing Corporation, the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, and the Mary Mitchell Youth and Family Center, which Jacobo helped to create. Astin Jacobo was the prototypical neighborhood mayor; his memory is maintained by those he helped and manifest in the institutions he helped create.

Jacabo Field is part of Mapes Ballfield, which is bound by Mapes Avenue, Prospect Avenue, East 180th, and East 181st Streets. This property, formerly under the jurisdiction of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, was transferred to Parks on November 24, 1997. The park is an open field with chain-link fencing, containing two baseball diamonds, backstops, benches, and floodlights.

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