Van Cortlandt Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, July 23, 2001


The grass on Paddy's Field's is now fresher, greener, and softer than ever thanks to the new sod, topsoil, and drainage system that is part of a $614,000 project funded by Council Member June (Mainland) Eisland. The ribbon cutting ceremony and sign unveiling held on Monday, July 16 highlighted Paddy's Field as the only athletic field on New York City parkland built for Gaelic Football. The field gets its name from an Irish-born Woodlawn resident, Patrick "Paddy" Markham, whose involvement with Gaelic sports began in Ireland, and continued throughout his life in the United States. His role in acquiring this field for the St. Barnabus Gaelic Football Club stands as one of the high points in his life story. For the past thirty years the Gaelic Football Club, founded by Paddy and other volunteers from the Woodlawn community, have kept Irish culture and sport in New York City lively.

Paddy's Field lies in the northeast corner of Van Cortlandt Park near East 239th Street and is surrounded by a mature forest of oaks, sweetgum, Red Maple, and Black locust. Originally referred to as the Gaelic Football Field, in 2000, Commissioner Henry J. (Starquest) Stern renamed it Paddy's Field, to honor Paddy Markham's sportsmanship and leadership.

Markham began his athletic career hurling. In this traditional Irish field sport, a ball, called a slitter, is caught on a hurley (a stick with a wide flange on the bottom) and carried, or hurled into the opponent's goal. By the time he came of age in the parish of Clarecastle, in County Clare, Ireland, Markham's hurling ability had earned him a place on the Clare County team. Within a few seasons he became renowned among hurlers throughout Ireland, receiving the Oirechtas Cup medal and the National League medal.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony, a crowd of children, parents and grandparents beamed with pride as young dancers performed traditional jigs and double reels in the hot sun. After the velvet green veil covering the historical sign was lifted, a new generation of Gaelic Football players took the field. The boys and girls enthusiasm for the sport was as evident as their talent for kicking, throwing and chasing the round leather ball all over a huge 137 by 82 meter field (approximately the size of one and a half American sized football fields). The adults, less accustomed to running full throttle in the summer sun, looked on and munched soda bread.

In addition to the improvements to the field, renovations were made to the surrounding area. These include new steel bleachers, chain link fencing, a new drinking fountain, new goal posts, trash receptacles, asphalt paving, concrete curbing, a north arrow compass rosette, and concrete steps with a handrail to provide direct access to the street. The steps are appropriately decorated with concrete plaques featuring Irish hounds and paving stones with intricate Celtic knots.

By Andrew (Chevre) Gray


Congratulations to Fiona (Treetop) Watt, Chief of Central Forestry. Her daughter, Arden Neu, was born Thursday, July 19. Arden weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces at birth. She is Fiona's second child.

(Monday, July 25, 1988)


Citizen pruners don't just grow on trees- They're carefully cultivated through Parks' Urban Forestry Project. And the first crop of City Volunteers (CVs) to graduate from the program are no rarer a species. After eight weeks of guidance by Parks foresters, horticulturalists, and members of the Natural Resources Group (NRG), these young people can now say they've pruned with the pros.

Today Commissioner Stern officially appointed each of the 10 CVC volunteers "Advanced Citizen Pruners" at a graduation ceremony at Margaret Mead Green at West 79th and Columbus Avenue in Theodore Roosevelt Park. The young people have been working to care for street trees maintained by the Parks Department in the Hell's Kitchen section of Manhattan.


"Ich am of Irlonde
Ant of the holy lande
Of Irlonde.
Gode sire, pray ich the,
For of saynte charite,
Come ant dance wyth me
In Irlonde."


Directions to Van Cortlandt Park

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