Macombs Dam Park

Parks Cuts Ribbon On Macombs Dam Park

Friday, April 9, 2010
No. 17

As Part of Yankee Stadium Redevelopment Project, New Seven-Acre Track and Field Opens
Joseph Yancey Track and Field Honors Legendary Bronx Coach

Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe today joined Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; Assembly Member Michael Benjamin; Jason Wright, Chief Financial Officer of NYC EDC; landscape designer Thomas Balsley; Community Board 4; members of Joe Yancey’s family; and former members of the New York Pioneers Track and Field Club to cut the ribbon on the new Macombs Dam Park and Joe Yancey Track and Field, at 161st Street and Jerome Avenue, across from the new Yankee Stadium. The $35 million park was funded by the City as part of a total $195 million investment to build new parks and recreational facilities through the Yankee Stadium Redevelopment Program. Students from P.S. 73 gave a choral performance. Following the event, Hostos Community College’s soccer team conducted a free clinic for 6th grade soccer players from P.S. 126, and the City Parks Foundation provided a free track and field clinic for local youth.

“We are thrilled to open the brand new Macombs Dam Park and Joseph Yancey Track & Field to the community, and we encourage visitors to enjoy all the park has to offer,” said Commissioner Benepe. “Whether you are looking for a place to train, play a pick-up game of soccer, football or basketball or spend time with your family outdoors, this park has something for everyone. The park features a state-of-the-art 400-meter track, all-weather field for soccer and football, basketball courts, handball courts, spacious, modern public toilets, adult fitness equipment, youth play equipment, landscaped viewing mounds and a grandstand for spectators.”

“Today’s ribbon cutting ceremony for Macombs Dam Park represents a significant step toward fulfilling the promise of replacing the parkland used for the construction of the new Yankee Stadium. We look forward to the completion of the entire park plan, including Heritage Field on the grounds of the old stadium. In the meantime, I am thrilled that the residents of this neighborhood will be able to enjoy a brand new, top-notch park,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

With the same state-of-the-art Mondo surfacing that has been used at the Summer Olympics, Macombs Dam Park features one of the best competition tracks in the city. The park also includes eight handball courts, four basketball courts, a soccer/football field with grandstand seating for up to 600 people, landscaping, adult fitness equipment including a chin-up bar, an interactive youth play area, passive recreational space, a comfort station and shaded picnic tables. The park is built on the rooftop of the partially below-grade, two-story Ruppert Plaza Garage. A beautifully landscaped hill is planned to connect Macombs Dam Park and the adjacent Ruppert Plaza and Heritage Field, providing an integrated park experience for users and spectators alike. The first section of the park opened for community use on May 15, 2009, providing access to part of a synthetic field with options for running.

A native New Yorker, Joseph James Yancey, Jr. (1910-1991) co-founded the New York Pioneers Track and Field Club in 1936. This interracial track team, which gave rise to many Olympic athletes, was the first of its kind in the United States. The Pioneer Club was one of the few organized efforts to help Asian-American, African-American, Italian, Jewish, Hispanic and female athletes to train in their sport. Joseph Yancey coached athletes from around the world in five different Olympic Games, though he never had the honor of coaching the Olympic team of his home country. Yancey’s many lifetime awards and honors included induction to the Black Athletes Hall of Fame, the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, and the Harlem Professionals, Inc. Hall of Fame.

The City first acquired land for Macombs Dam Park in two parcels, in 1897 and in 1924, located at street level on River Avenue between East 161st and East 162nd Streets. The park opened in 1899, drawing neighborhood children and aspiring athletes to its extensive recreational facilities, which included baseball fields, tennis courts, comfort stations, a playground and the track.

Macombs Dam Park was designed by architect and lead designer Clarke Caton Hintz, Thomas Balsley Associates as conceptual designer and Wendy Evans Joseph Architects as consultant architect. The engineering consultant for the park was Stantec. The park was constructed by a joint venture between Hunter Roberts Construction Group and Prismatic Development Corporation. The Program Managers for the project was a joint venture between AECOM (formerly DMJM Harris) and Tishman Construction.

Directions to Macombs Dam Park

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