Thursday, July 9, 2015 -- NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP joined New York Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost, Executive Vice President of Communications and Senior Advisor to the CEO for the San Francisco Giants Staci Slaughter, former New York Met and Yankee Lee Mazzilli, Assembly Member Herman D. Farrell, Jr. and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez to cut the ribbon on the newly restored historic John T. Brush Stairway on the 102nd anniversary of its dedication. The stairway connects Edgecombe Avenue at 158th Street in Washington Heights to the Harlem River Driveway where the old Polo Grounds used to sit.
“Through this project we were able to completely reconstruct this aging and deteriorated stairway, install steel gates at the top of the stairs’ western access point, and construct a picnic area and a concrete path at the bottom of the stairs, now connecting the park to the sidewalk,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “This project would not have been possible without the funding and support provided by all five major New York teams that used to call the Polo Grounds home, Major League Baseball, Comptroller Scott Stringer and the Mayor’s Office. Today is a wonderful celebration of history, sports and New York City parks.”
"Major League Baseball is proud to support this project to preserve the legacy of the historic Polo Grounds," said Joe Torre, Chief Baseball Officer of Major League Baseball. "Some of my fondest memories as a young fan were made watching Willie Mays patrolling center field. I am so pleased that this important part of New York baseball history is being preserved in a meaningful way."
“The Brush Stairway was more than just a pathway to get to the Polo Grounds,” said Lonn Trost, Yankees Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel. “It was a conduit that allowed generations of baseball and football fans to enjoy their sports at the ballpark before television broadcasts existed or became commonplace viewing. On behalf of the entire Yankees organization, we could not be happier that such a landmark piece of Yankees history and New York sports history has been restored. The staircase is truly a location to be cherished, and we congratulate the New York City Parks Department on their tremendous work on this project.”
“The Brush Stairway at the old Polo Grounds is historic ground, and we are pleased that it has been restored,” said Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon. “We are proud to play a role in this restoration that helps memorialize the different teams that played there.”
“The San Francisco, formerly New York, Giants are very proud to join in the restoration of the John T. Brush Stairway,” said San Francisco Giants President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Baer. “Our team remains deeply connected to our New York roots, and the stairway will forever serve as a reminder to all Giants fans of our rich history and the many Giants greats who played at the Polo Grounds.”
“With today’s reopening, the Brush Stairway has connected the past and the present and restored an important piece of New York City’s sports heritage,” said Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “For the millions of New Yorkers who once traversed these steps and frequented the Polo Grounds to see their favorite teams, today is a landmark day. I am proud to have joined with the Mayor’s Office, Major League Baseball, the Mets, Yankees, Giants and football Jets and Giants in helping to make this project a reality.”
“The Brush Staircase is a prime example of how private institutions can help benefit public work projects to improve our community. I praise the San Francisco Giants, and the NY Mets, Yankees, Giants and Jets on today’s opening and look forward to working with them in the future to ensure the communities of our city and our sports teams mutually benefit from each other’s success," said Council member Ydanis Rodriguez.
The Brush Stairway was built by the former New York Giants baseball team to accommodate sports fans going to and from the Polo Grounds and was gifted to the City on July 9, 1913. The stairs were named in honor of the team’s owner, John T. Brush, after he passed away. Today marked the 102nd anniversary of this historic structure, the last remnant of the famous Polo Grounds.
Opened in 1890, five major New York sports teams called the Polo Grounds home – the (now) San Francisco Giants, the Yankees, the Mets, the football Giants and the Jets. All these teams contributed funding to this project, as did Major League Baseball, the Mayor’s Office and Comptroller (former Manhattan Borough President) Scott Stringer.
This $1.4 million project is another in a series of improvements to Highbridge Park, including the recent restoration and reopening of the High Bridge, the City’s oldest standing bridge.