The Bushman Steps play a role in baseball history due to their proximity to the Polo Grounds ticket booth and playing fields, which once stood nearby. This staircase leads towards Highbridge Park and the Coogan's Bluff staircase.
Sports fans once used these convenient steps to get to the old Polo Grounds ballfield. Traveling over the steps of Coogan's Bluff, thousands of fans enjoyed free baseball, boxing matches, and football games. The New York Giants team-owner John T. Brush (1845-1912) built the bathtub-shaped Polo Grounds. The ball field stadium came to stand for its record-breaking crowds, a sign of the renaissance of New York baseball.
From it’s opening in 1912, the 155th Street Polo Grounds was home to the New York Giants (who played there until they moved to San Francisco in 1957) the New York Yankees (who later moved into “The House That Ruth Built,” Yankee Stadium.) and the New York Mets from 1962 to 1963 (before moving to Shea Stadium in Queens). These stairs once led to a ticket booth where fans could watch such sports legends as Jack Dempsey (1895-1983), Sugar Ray Robinson (1921-1989), and Babe Ruth (1895-1948). Developers razed the stadium in 1964 to build a housing complex called the Polo Grounds Towers. They now stand on the site, along with a playground named for baseball great, Willie Mays (b.1931).
Bushman Steps now serve pedestrians walking to the 157th Street Subway Station. The steps were acquired by the City in 1934 through a permit in a letter from former Borough President Samuel Levy. The landscaped area within the wrought iron fence contains plants, trees, and shrubs. Neighboring residents tend the plants providing some green and some shade for passersby.
Readers of this sign who have any information on Bushman's identity should contact the Parks Library at (212) 360-8240.