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Crescent Park

Crescent Park

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

Bounded by Albany Crescent, West 233rd Street, and the Major Deegan Expressway, this park was originally known as Hut Hill because of the rudimentary encampments continental soldiers built on this hillside during the Revolutionary War. During the 19th century, it was referred to as Boston Hill. In 1913, Parks named this piece of land Albany Crescent Park for the old Albany Post Road which once past by here and the site’s distinct curvature. Parks shortened this site’s name from Albany Crescent Park to Crescent Park on February 11, 1998.

During Colonial and Revolutionary times, Albany Crescent was an important junction; this was where the Albany Post Road and Boston Post Road, one of the city’s first major thoroughfares, intersected. Following the route of a Native American trail, it started at the southern tip of Manhattan near the Battery and went north along what is now the Bowery past present-day Union Square, at which point it roughly followed the route of Park Avenue. It continued north through Harlem, crossing the Harlem River at Kingsbridge, and cut to the northeast across the Bronx. It became a postal road in 1672, when the Colonial Governor Lovelace issued “A Proclamacion for a Post to goe monthly from this city to Boston and back againe.” Fragments of the road exist today as the Bowery in Manhattan, Gun Hill Road and Barnes Bussing Avenues in the Bronx, and New England’s US Highway 1.

This site was acquired by Parks on December 12, 1950. Crescent Park is one of six disconnected parks, ranging in area from about one-tenth of an acre to about four acres, that were laid out bordering the Major Deegan Expressway. Major William F. Deegan (1882-1932) was the son of Irish immigrants and studied architecture at Cooper Union. During World War I, he served first as a staff officer of the 105th Field Artillery and later as a major with the Army Corps of Engineers under General George W. Goethals, where he oversaw the construction of Army bases in the New York City area. Deegan also served as president of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, Mayor James J. Walker’s Tenement Housing Commissioner, and chairman of the Mayor’s Committee for Welcoming Distinguished Guests. On April 30, 1937, Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia renamed the westerly approach to the Triborough Bridge the Major William F. Deegan Boulevard; when the boulevard was lengthened in 1956 it was renamed the Major Deegan Expressway.

In the fall of 2000, Crescent Park was named a Greenstreets site. Greenstreets is a joint project of Parks and the New York City Department of Transportation begun in 1986 and revived in 1994. Its goal is to convert paved street properties, such as triangles and malls, into green spaces.

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