Vito Locascio Field
Vito Locascio Field
This park located in Ozone Park is named for Vito Locascio (1935-2006), a Parks worker who played an active role in the life of Parks and who died from cancer at the age of 70 on May 4, 2006.
Vito Locascio first came to work for Parks at the greenhouse in Forest Park in the early 1950’s. He was drafted soon after, and served in the Korean War where he was wounded in battle and received an honorable discharge. Locascio returned to Parks where he rose through the ranks. For 12 years he worked as a park supervisor in Coney Island, and finished his career in downtown Brooklyn. At Parks, Locascio also played an active role at Parks’ training academy and as president of the Parks’ Columbian Association for 32 years. In 2008, Community Board #10 and Council Member Joseph Addabbo supported a proposal to rename the park Locascio Field, which was previously called Loring Field since 1987.
Bounded by 149th Avenue, Cross Bay Boulevard and North Conduit Avenue, this parkland was initially acquired by condemnation by the city for water supply purposes in 1907. In 1915 the parcel was surrendered by Water Supply and reassigned to Parks. With the building of the Cross Bay Boulevard in 1924, a portion of this parcel was taken by the City for street purposes. Similarly with the expansion of 149th Avenue, a portion of the field --- as well as portions of Southside Burial Ground, a cemetery owned by Parks located to the northwest of this site --- were taken for street purposes. Additions to the park followed in 1951 and 1954. Recent improvements include a reconstruction of the athletic fields and construction of a comfort station, a $1.4 million project paid for with mayoral funds and completed in 2003.
Today the site is used in part by football leagues. Organized football in New York City dates back to 1870, when Rutgers University defeated Columbia University six goals to three in the city’s first official football game. In the late 19th century, New York often played host to games between colleges from other parts of the country. In 1925, a team called the New York Giants joined the National Football League (NFL), playing their games at the Polo Grounds at 156th Street in Manhattan. The team would later move to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, where on December 28, 1958, the Baltimore Colts would beat the Giants 23-17, a match that many people consider the greatest game in NFL history. The fact that the game was televised nationally and took place in New York, the nation’s largest city and media center, was a major stimulus for the popularization of what would become one of the country’s most popular sports.
The many contributions to Parks and his community are commemorated here in the naming of Vito Locascio Field.