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Vinmont Veteran Park

Sid Augarten Field

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

This field, a prominent feature of Vinmont Veteran Park, honors Sid Augarten (1928-1971), who served as commissioner and president of the North Riverdale Baseball League for ten years.

Born in Brooklyn on March 28, 1928, Augarten graduated from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan before attending City College, where he studied chemistry. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, Augarten accepted a government position at the Engineer Research Development Laboratory at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, located near Washington D.C. During the Korean War (1950-53), Augarten was drafted into the army as a chemist, completing his service at Fort Belvoir.

On April 6, 1952, Augarten married Lenore Prusslin, whom he met while in college. After the war, Augarten entered the professional field of chemistry, and the couple settled in the Bronx. Here the Augartens raised two children, Davi and Alan, who both attended P.S. 81 and participated in the North Riverdale Baseball League.

Augarten actively participated in the league, coaching both of his children’s teams before becoming league commissioner and president. After a decade of involvement with the organization, Augarten passed away on May 24, 1971, at the age of 43. On April 4, 1987, City Council Member June M. Eisland and other community members participated in a ceremony in which Parks Commissioner Stern named this field for the man who had been so dedicated to the league’s development.

Vinmont Veteran Park serves as a memorial to honor local veterans who served their country in past wars. The park, the surrounding neighborhood and adjacent Vinmont Road are named after Robert C. Weinberg (1902-1974), who designed the private development and the road that serves it. Weinberg named these places for himself but translated his German surname, meaning “wine mountain” to the French equivalent “vinmont.” Weinberg, an architect and city planner, was a Parks employee during the 1930s and was responsible for locating and selecting sites for playgrounds. He designed playgrounds according to local needs rather than formulaic guidelines, which was an innovative practice for the time.

The City acquired Vinmont Veteran Park, bound by Riverdale and Mosholu Avenues, and West 254th and 256th Streets, by condemnation in 1945, and added to the property in 1947. It opened as a park on September 26, 1951, originally known as P.S. 81 Playground because of the adjacent school. In 1992, a renovation provided the park with new fencing, curbs, benches, picnic tables, landscape work, water fountains, and a new backstop for Sid Augarten Field.

The Sid Augarten Field continues to serve as home to the North Riverdale Baseball League. The field is notable for its unique contours. While the left and right field fences are 186 feet and 191 feet from home plate respectively, the centerfield fence is only 181 feet away. The field is well maintained, and a tarp shades the dugouts that flank the field. Bleachers accommodate the spectators who watch their kids play in the little league that Sid Augarten organized for years.

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