Ogden Plimpton Playground
Ogden Av, Plimpton Av, W 170 St
Directions via Google Maps
Ogden Plimpton Playground
This playground takes its name from two avenues that border the property: Ogden Avenue and Plimpton Avenue. The park is also bordered by West 170th Street, and Edward L. Grant Avenue. Ogden Avenue and Plimpton Avenue were named for William B. Ogden (1805-1877) and George A. Plimpton (1855-1936), respectively.
William B. Ogden owned a nearby estate called “Villa Boscobel,” which overlooked the Harlem River. During his life, Ogden served in several capacities including as a real estate developer in New York, as the first mayor of Chicago (1837-1838), and as the first president of the Union Pacific Railroad (1862-1863). Ogden moved to the East to enjoy his retirement. When his estate in the Bronx was broken up into 1,500 plots that were auctioned off over the course of four days. Ogden Avenue, which follows the path of a road that was called Highbridge Avenue in the mid-19th century, was named for Ogden in 1876. Plimpton Avenue was part of Highbridgeville, a village that was settled around 1851 by people who worked on the Croton Aqueduct system. The spot where Plimpton Avenue crosses West 169th Street was the southern border of the old Fordham Manor. George A. Plimpton, a publisher, educator, and treasurer of Barnard College, maintained a small estate nearby.
For the last 30 years of the 19th century, the portion of West 170th Street from the Harlem River to Sedgwick Avenue was called Kyle’s Park. Boats would bring visitors from East 138th Street to the park, which stood where the Major Deegan Expressway now runs. The Edward L. Grant Highway was laid out in 1887, though at the time it was called Boscobel Avenue. It ran from Undercliff Avenue and the Washington Bridge to Sedgwick Avenue. Six years later, the street was extended from the bridge to Jerome Avenue. In 1945, the highway was renamed for New York Giants baseball player Edward L. Grant (1883-1918) who died in World War I.
This property is part of the Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development (HPD) Open Space Program. As such, the site is maintained and administered by a community organization, even though the City developed it and still owns it. In this case, the property has been turned over to the Mid-Bronx Housing Development Fund Corporation (H.D.F.C.). It provides local residents with a basketball court, a unique covered seating area, a large planter for gardening, and climbing equipment.