Jacob Joffe Fields

Jacob Joffe Field

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

This field, located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Flatlands, honors veteran and local civil leader Jacob Joffe (1925-1962).

Born in Palestine, Jacob Joffe left his homeland to fight with the Jewish Brigade of the British Army during World War II (1939-1945). After the War, he returned to his home to fight as an officer in the Israeli Army for the nation’s independence. In March 1950 during the war, Joffe met Natalie Aronow. After a month of courtship, they married. Three months later the couple immigrated to the United States, took up residence at 1142 57th Street in Brooklyn and founded the civic association, Futurama.

Bounded by Utica Avenue to the West, Avenue J to the North, Ralph Avenue to the East, and Avenue L to the South, Futurama held events ranging from social parties to Boy Scout meetings and hosted stamp, electronics, mah-jongg, and bowling clubs. A weekly newsletter reported on community happenings such as weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, funerals, meetings, illnesses, and overgrown gardens. In his spare time, Joffe also led a Boy Scout troop and formed a local Children’s Activities Committee. Jacob Joffe died in 1963, at age 37 from a rare heart condition.

On August 24, 1961 Parks acquired this site, located at Avenue K between East 58th and East 60th Streets. On March 22, 1962 a small triangle of land at the corner of East 58th Street and Avenue K was added, and Parks named the site after Joffe. In 1994, the park received $542,000 for reconstruction of the playground from Borough President Howard Golden. In 1998, Mayor Giuliani provided $17,374 to fix sidewalks and other paved surfaces in the park. In 2000 City Councilman Herbert E. Berman provided $550,000 for the reconstruction of the ball fields and $58,317 for additional sitework.

Jacob Joffe Field, a block away from Mr. Joffe’s former home, now contains two baseball fields along with a small playground. The two baseball fields feature an irrigation system ensuring that the fields do not flood. The playground contains red, yellow, and green play equipment and safety surfacing, a yard-arm flagpole, many Christie-Forsyth benches, London planetrees (Platanus x acerifolia) and pin oak (Quercus palustris) trees, basketball and handball courts, tot swings, bike racks, and three drinking fountains. The entrance to the playground boasts a small compass stone.

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