Van Cortlandt Park

Allen Shandler Recreation Area

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

Born January 9, 1951, to Frank and Sylvia Shandler, Allen Shandler was a local boy known for his vigor and integrity. In 1962, at just eleven years old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Determined to live his life as any other boy his age, Allen dedicated his time to improving his community and helping those around him, displaying a maturity that earned him much respect in the community in which he lived.

Allen and his father organized a drive to raise $300,000 for the Holly Park Recreation Area in Van Cortlandt Park. After Shandler’s death on August 11, 1966, Woodlawn resident and Council Member Mario Merola (1922-1987) secured the funds for the recreation area. Council Member-At-Large Aileen B. Ryan (1912-1987) and Council Member Merola introduced a bill to rename the recreation area for Allen Shandler in 1967.

The Allen Shandler Recreation Area is located in Van Cortlandt Park near the Woodlawn neighborhood. The Wiechquaskeck Lenapes occupied the site of Van Cortlandt Park in 1639 when the Dutch East India Company brought the first European settlers to the Bronx. In 1646 Dutchman Adriaen Van Der Donck (1620-1655) became the first single owner of what is now Van Cortlandt Park; a tract of land bounded by modern Yonkers City Line between Broadway, Jerome Avenue, and Van Cortlandt Park East. Jacobus Van Cortlandt bought the property in 1699 and his son, Frederick Van Cortlandt, built the Van Cortlandt Mansion in 1748. While the Van Cortlandt family occupied the land until the 1880’s (the City of New York acquired it in 1888), the park was not named for its long-time residents until 1913.

The Allen Shandler Recreation Area is situated between Jerome Avenue and the Major Deegan Expressway, south of East 233 Street. The recreation area has two baseball diamonds, a comfort station, benches, and a picnic area with grills and picnic tables. With facilities for football, baseball, softball, soccer, cricket, tennis, golf, swimming, horseback riding, running, and hiking constantly improving, the future of New York City’s third largest park looks greener than ever.

Directions to Van Cortlandt Park

Was this information helpful?