What was here before?
This ballfield lies in the West Farms area of East Tremont. Prominent landowners and businesspeople Thomas Mapes (1628-1687) and his wife Sarah Purrier (1630-1697) were among the earliest colonial settlers in the area. After the American Revolution, the Mapes family opened a store in West Farms Village, at Boston Road and 179th Street, a site previously occupied by De Lancey’s Mills. The store, which sold general goods such as coal, paint, flour, feed, and seeds, later became known as the Mapes Temperance Hotel. The family-operated three stores in the West Farms area, as well as a Bronx River dock at 173rd Street.
How did this become a ballfield?
Jacabo Field is part of Mapes Ballfield. This property, formerly under the jurisdiction of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, was transferred to NYC Parks on November 24, 1997. The park is an open space with two baseball fields equipped for nighttime play.
Who is this ballfield named for?
This field honors activist Astin Jacobo (1929-2002), who fled his native Dominican Republic and settled in the Bronx in 1970. He strove to improve East Tremont, and this ballfield is one of the many products of his dedication and love for his community.
Born on a sugarcane plantation, Jacobo’s community work began in Consuelo, Dominican Republic in 1951 when he worked with the Catholic church to develop and organize the community. He was branded a communist for his involvement in union organizing in the 1960s. In fear for his life, he left his family behind and came to the United States via Canada in 1970. He worked as a janitor in a local Catholic church, where he suggested that the church open the gymnasium to the community.
Jacobo served as president of the Crotona Community Coalition for 25 years, and he worked tirelessly as a member of Community Board 6 advocating for better housing and rent control. He also was involved with Save-A-Generation, the Inter-Neighborhood Housing Corporation, the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, and the Mary Mitchell Youth and Family Center, which Jacobo helped found. Jacobo was a prototypical “neighborhood mayor,” and his memory is maintained by those he helped and manifest in the institutions he helped create.
Directions to Mapes Park
- Jacobo Field
- Mapes Ballfield