Coney Island Boat Basin
This park, named for its six baseball fields, has provided the community a place to play the great American pastime since 1942.
Baseball is an important part of New York’s and especially Brooklyn’s history. In the mid-19th century, when baseball was just gaining national attention, the Brooklyn Atlantics was one of the earliest baseball teams. In 1883, the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers began an era in New York baseball that lasted until 1957.
Between 1916 and 1953 the Dodgers played in seven World Series and lost them all. Slumping from the mid 1920s through the end of the 1930s, their mistakes in the field were a source of comedy, earning them the nickname “Daffiness Boys.” They soon regained their thunder, winning the American League pennant in 1941. They further improved when they signed Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), the first African American man to play in the major leagues. In 1947, Robinson’s first year, he led them to another American League victory. They played the Yankees in the World Series, however, and ended up losing the championship another five times before beating them in 1955. They moved to Los Angeles only two years later, marking the beginning of a new era of mobile sports teams.
Currently, New York City is home to two major league teams: the Mets and the Yankees. The Mets have won two World Series since their debut in 1962. The Yankees, founded in 1903 as the New York Highlanders, won their 26th World Series in 2000, in a subway series against the Mets. It was the first championship between New York teams since the Yankees beat the Dodgers the year before they moved to Los Angeles. With the 2001 opening of nearby Keyspan Stadium (now MCU Park), baseball returned to its Brooklyn roots, thanks to the relocating and renaming of the Mets farm team, the Brooklyn Cyclones.
The City first began operating baseball fields on this site, in Coney Island between Bay 49th and West 22nd Streets, under permit from the Docks Department in 1942. Ownership of the ballfields was transferred to Parks in 1945, and a boat basin was constructed shortly afterward. To prevent erosion, the shore was lined with wood barges, which have been decomposing since that time. Despite this, a decision was made not to remove them for fear of disturbing the delicate ecosystem that thrives in this shoreside habitat.
In 1964, additional land was added to both the ballfields property and the adjacent Dreier Offerman Park (now Calvert Vaux Park) using landfill from the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. In 1995, a weeklong renewal project cleaned up both parks, removing 60 truckloads of debris and over 80 abandoned cars. Community Board 13, Community School District 21, and many local activists helped to give these parks the attention they needed.
Originally named “Coney Island Creek Boat Basin and Recreation Area,” the park was renamed “Four Diamonds” in 1985. At that time, some renovation was done, including new goal posts for the soccer field. The boat basin closed in the mid-1990s, and two more ballfields were added in 1999, necessitating the name change to “Six Diamonds.” Council Member Howard L. Lasher provided $1,050,000 for the new fields and renovation of the existing fields, as well as new fences featuring animal silhouettes.
There are now six baseball diamonds and two soccer fields in the park, as well as drinking fountains and lights for night games. Trees stand around the edges and a chainlink fence encloses the athletic fields. Six Diamonds is home to local school athletics and many baseball and softball leagues, as well as a soccer league. A parcel of 6.75 acres (including 4.7 acres below water) was added to the property in 2001, as part of the land development for the nearby shopping center.