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Bronx Park

Trojan Courts

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

Named for the Trojans, a Bronx amateur baseball club that used the fields in the 1930s, Trojan Courts is one of the smaller areas within Bronx Park. Originally called Pelham Field, the property was eventually turned into an open public field by Parks and the Works Progress Administration before becoming the center for athletic competitions on courts that it is today. The Trojans no longer exist as a baseball club, although there is a minor league team in the Bronx named the Bergen Beach Trojans.

The Trojans were people of antiquity who are said to have resided in Troy and fought the Greeks in the epic Trojan War. Homer’s Illiad recounts that Paris, Prince of the Trojans, kidnapped Helen, the wife of the Greek king Menelaus. A bloody nine-year war ensued between the Greeks and Trojans. Ultimately the Greeks penetrated the walls inside of a giant horse posing as a gift to the Trojans, emerging once inside the city to burn Troy to the ground and kill the royal family. Of this family, only Prince Aeneas escaped, and his journey is said to have culminated in the founding of Italy, as depicted by Virgil’s Aeneid. Once considered tales of fantasy from Greek culture and mythology, archeological digs conducted throughout the last half of the 20th century have validated the existence of the City of Troy near the time offered by Homer’s work.

The majority of the Bronx Park property was acquired between December 1888 and January 1889. The City of New York allotted 250 acres to the New York Zoological Society in 1898 to build a park to preserve native animals and promote zoology. The Wildlife Conservation Park, better known as the Bronx Zoo, opened in 1899 and remains one of the largest wildlife conservation parks in the United States. In 1906, the city acquired another 66 acres on the southeast end of this property. This area currently houses Ranaqua, Parks’ Bronx headquarters, as well as many recreation areas including playgrounds, bicycle paths, baseball diamonds, tennis and basketball courts and football and soccer fields

Trojan Courts contains six tennis courts, one basketball court, and four handball courts. In May of 2000 City Council Member Jose Rivera allocated $875,000 to reconstruct the courts, and completion of the construction is expected in 2002.

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