Admiral Vernon is remembered by the British as "Old Grog", an affectionate nickname he earned from the grogram cloak he wore in foul weather. Eventually, the name was given to the drink that he had served to his sailors to curb their drunkenness-rum diluted with water.
George Washington's (1732-1799) half-brother Lawrence is responsible for bringing Vernon's name to America. Lawrence had served under the Admiral in a campaign against the West Indies, and in 1743, built a mansion and town in Fairfax County, Virginia. He called them both Mount Vernon.
In 1842, a turnpike connecting Queens to Brooklyn was built and named Vernon Avenue. The Vernon Avenue Bridge stretched over Newtown Creek, a tributary of the East River that runs inland for three miles and serves as the boundary between Brooklyn and Queens. The bridge connected Long Island City, Queens and Greenpoint, Brooklyn. On October 30, 1965, the City of New York had the Abbey-Smith Wrecking Company remove the bridge because it was no longer needed. Today, the G subway line runs directly under the route of the former bridge. Vernon Avenue has since become Vernon Boulevard, and runs solely along the East River in western Queens, stretching from Long Island City to Astoria.
Vernon Playground resides at the northeast corner of Queensbridge Park, and was known simply as the Queensbridge Park Playground, until Commissioner Stern renamed it after nearby Vernon Boulevard in the late 1990s. Queensbridge Park is so named because it lies under the Queensboro Bridge, which was designed by renowned bridge engineer Gustav Lindenthal in collaboration with Leffert L. Buck and Henry Hornbostel, the men who co-designed the Williamsburg Bridge. In March 1908, the project was completed at the cost of $20 million and fifty lives and one year later opened to traffic. Today, approximately 155,000 vehicles cross over the Queensboro Bridge daily.
The City of New York acquired this land in 1939. The nearby Queensbridge Housing
projects entitled the New York City Housing Authority to jurisdiction over the
land, however it was understood that Parks would maintain it. Queensbridge Park
contains a variety of facilities, including the colorful play equipment, swings,
benches and water fountain that characterize Vernon Playground. In 1996, Council
Member Walter L. McCaffrey funded the $379,590 total reconstruction of this
playground, removing old play apparatuses and installing new equipment.
Directions to Queensbridge Park
- QUEENSBRIDGE PARK ESPLANADE NAMED IN HONOR OF LOCAL PARK ADVOCATE ELIZABETH MCQUEEN
- Queensbridge Park Benefits From Reconstructed Seawall And New Waterfront Promenade
- NYC Parks Cuts Ribbon On $6.65 Million Project To Reconstruct Seawall And Create New Waterfront Promenade In Queensbridge Park