Leif Ericson Park

PO Christopher Hoban Ballfields

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

What was here before?

This area of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn was once inhabited by the Canarsee, a tribe of the Lenape. In the 17th century, it was settled by the Dutch and named Yellow Hook, referring to the color of the soil and hoek, the Dutch word for “corner.” This rural area changed its name to Bay Ridge in the 1850s to disassociate from the yellow fever epidemic.

Beginning in the early 19th century, many Scandinavians settled here. In 1925, the community lobbied to create this park and name it for Norse explorer Leif Ericson, believed to be the first European to set foot on the American continent (nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus).

How did this site become a ballfield?

The City originally acquired the site of this ballfield in 1895 for the Bay Ridge Parkway. However, at the behest of community leaders, it created a new park on five vacant blocks in 1925. 

The design of the paved plaza, between the fields, maintains the park’s Norse theme.  The figure of Leif Ericson's ship riding the waves is engraved around the flagpole’s granite base.  Suns and moons, incorporated in the flagpole’s compass, signify the days and nights of Leif Ericson’s journey.  Nordic animals including the Moose, Reindeer, Black Bear, and Mountain Goat are engraved in granite paving stones, within the flagpole plaza.

Who are these ballfields named for?

These ballfields honor Police Officer Christopher Hoban (1962-1988). Hoban grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and graduated from Xaverian High School in 1980. In 1984, he joined the New York Police Department. After serving for three and a half years in Manhattan’s 24th Precinct, Hoban began an eight-month tour of duty as an undercover officer with the Manhattan North Narcotics Department.  Hoban, the recipient of two commendations, was shot and killed in the line of duty while making an undercover narcotics purchase in Upper Manhattan on October 18, 1988.

Hoban is remembered for his strength, his bravery and, above all, his gentleness. His high school formed a memorial scholarship grant in his name shortly thereafter to provide funding for students with parents on the police force.

Directions to Leif Ericson Park

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Highlights

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