Mount Hope Garden
This site, on Creston Avenue between East Burnside Avenue and East 179th Street in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx, is named for the neighborhood in which it resides. The name refers to the high elevation of this portion of the borough.
This area was largely farmland until 1841, when the New York and Harlem Railroad opened a station that soon became the center of a village. In the 1850s, Postmaster Hiram Tarbox named the village Tremont, after the three major hills in the area (Fairmount, Mount Eden, and Mount Hope). Tremont comprises several smaller neighborhoods, including Claremont, Mount Eden, and Mount Hope. Mount Hope is centered on Tremont Avenue. Burnside Avenue honors the Civil War (1861-1865) general, Ambrose E. Burnside (1824-1881). Burnside’s unique and extensive facial hair was the inspiration for the term “sideburns.”Â
The site is one of several playgrounds developed through the City Spaces program of the Trust for Public Land. Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, non-profit land conservation organization which works to preserve land as parks, greenways, recreation areas, community gardens, historic landmarks, and wilderness sites. TPL is dedicated to reinvigorating the public commons as a means of revitalizing American cities. With the City Spaces program, TPL works with community organizations to identify City-owned vacant lots which can be developed into viable, open, public spaces.
Each City Spaces project is a five-way partnership between the Trust for Public Land, the City of New York, the individual site sponsor/manager (e.g. a school or community development corporation), the community who will use (and, through their use, steward) the land, and corporate sponsors, who underwrite much of the project's capital costs. The City permanently guarantees the status of the spaces as long as the community organizations continue to maintain them to standard.
Originally named Creston Playground, Mount Hope Garden was one of the first four sites chosen by the City Spaces program. It was assigned to Parks on September 17, 1996. Managed by the Mount Hope Organization and the Mount Hope Housing Company, this former empty lot now features a wrought-iron fence, benches, picnic tables, two play structures with safety surfacing, trees, and raised wooden garden beds for planting and environmental education. A participatory, evolving design process is a central feature of the City Spaces Program.