Van Cortlandt Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, September 11, 2001


Photo by Spencer (Flasher) Tucker

Over 130 years ago, horses got New Yorkers where they needed to go. Today, New York’s newest trolley service is powered not by carrots, but by natural compressed gas. A shining red and green Van Cortlandt Trolley is the Bronx’s newest cultural ambassador, and it was dedicated on Friday, August 24 in Van Cortlandt Park. Starting this fall, Bronxites and visitors can climb aboard for free and travel among the Bronx’s hottest spots. The trolley is scheduled to stop at the Bronx Zoo, The New York Botanical Gardens, and the Van Cortlandt House Museum. There are also plans to create stops at other historic sites. The trolley’s final destination, sure to agree with every traveler’s palate, is Belmont, the Bronx’s own Little Italy.

Up to par with Saint Louis and San Francisco, the Bronx was once known as a trolley town. The 85-year reign of Bronx streetcars began during the Civil War. At that time, the Bronx’s network of cars were drawn by horses. Eventually streetcars went electric. But in 1948, the increasingly modern trolleys were abandoned in favor of another transportation trend: buses.

Thanks to $140,000 from Council Member June (Mainland) Eisland trolley rides are back in the Bronx. To keep its passengers cool during the summer months, the new Van Cortlandt Trolley is fully equipped with air conditioning. It has been outfitted with two chair lifts and a space for wheelchairs and strollers. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Zoo, and Belmont Merchants’ Association will fund the operation of the trolley service.

The creation of the trolley was a collaborative effort between Parkies from Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay Parks, Five Boro, the Bronx Garage, and partners including Council Member Eisland’s office, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, and Friends of Van Cortlandt Park. Council Member Eisland, Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern; Richard (Slugger) Lattis of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Grace (The Greatest) Belkin, District Manager for Community Board 8; Barbara Stronczer, Parks Committee Chair for Community Board 7; Paul (Two-Wheeler) Sawyer, Executive Director of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park; William (Zorro) Castro, Bronx Borough Commissioner; Linda (Hickory) Dockeray, Administrator of Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay Parks spoke on the occasion of the first ride.

By Jocelyn (J-Line) Aframe


(Tuesday, September 13, 1988)



Mary Ellen W. Hern has been appointed the first Director of Historic Houses, Commissioner Stern announced today. Reporting to Director of Art & Antiquities Adrian Benepe, Hern will work out of the Arsenal as a liaison between Parks and the volunteer groups that manage the 14 houses. Hern will raise funds for repairs, restorations and programs at the houses and solicit grants and private donations. She will also coordinate special events and educational material.

"The appointment of Mary Ellen Hern represents a renewed commitment by Mayor Koch, the City and the Parks Department to the city’s superb collection of historic houses. We hope to increase the appreciation of these houses and strengthen our relationships with the many volunteer groups who operate them," said Commissioner Stern.


"Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting.... Read it a hundred times; it will forever keep its freshness as a metal keeps its fragrance. It can never lose its sense of a meaning that once unfolded by surprise as it went."

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Directions to Van Cortlandt Park

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