Isham Park

Bruce Reynolds Garden

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

This garden honors the memory of Bruce Reynolds (1960-2001), a Port Authority Police Officer, who on the morning of September 11, 2001, rushed from his post at the George Washington Bridge into the inferno of the World Trade Center, sacrificing his life to save others.

Bruce Reynolds was the son of J.A. and Geri Reynolds; the family moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Inwood when Bruce was only five years old. As one of the first African American families in what at the time was a predominately white, Irish-American neighborhood, the Reynolds’s (both social workers) reached out to their neighbors. For their first Christmas in New York they held an open house party, and Bruce grew close to his Irish community.

According to his parents, Bruce Reynolds wanted to be a policeman from the age of 12; it was also at that time that gangs wreaked havoc on Isham Park. J.A. Reynolds formed the Park Terrace West Gang, which, with funding from the New York Department of Youth Services, brought neighborhood youth together to restore the park, and especially this garden. Bruce worked here for hours learning about horticulture. In May of 1980, after attending the Fashion Institute of Technology, Bruce joined the Department of Parks & Recreation as an Urban Park Ranger, where he brought his knowledge of science and his gregarious nature to the teaching of children.

Bruce left Parks in 1986 and joined the Port Authority Police. In 1990 he met Marian McBride of County Donegal, Ireland. They married a year later and bought a house in New Jersey; Bruce joined the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Bruce visited Ireland every summer, and spent time with the McBrides, walking in County Donegal’s bogs and singing in its pubs. Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds had their first child in 1997 and their second in 2000.

When last seen on September 11, Bruce was helping a woman who had been seriously burned by jet fuel. On May 18, 2002, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, who served with Bruce in the Urban Park Rangers, formally dedicated this garden to the man who as a teen gave of his time so that his neighbors might enjoy this garden, and as a police officer gave his life so that his neighbors might live.

Directions to Isham Park

  • Isham Park Children's School Farm


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