Richman (Echo) Park
Richman (Echo) Park
For almost one hundred years, local residents have called this site Echo Park, after the well-defined echo that can be heard between the two rock masses that dominate its dramatic topography. Its name was changed in 1973 to honor Julius J. Richman (1915-1972), chairman of the Twin Parks Association and the Urban Action Task Force, and Assistant Administrator of the City’s Finance Committee.
Before entering City government, Richman married Lillian Dubin and together they had two children, Theresa and Amy. In 1962 Richman became Deputy City Treasurer, after a stint as Governer Harriman’s senior accountant in the New York State Temporary Housing and Rent Commission. Richman was a close economic advisor to Mayor Lindsay and served as chairman of the Mayor’s West Bronx Neighborhood Task Force. In 1965, Richman was elected Chairman of Community Planning Board #2. At the time of his death in 1972, Richman was Assistant Finance Administrator for Audits and Inspections. Commissioner Stern has since modified the park name to Richman (Echo) Park in 1997.
Parks acquired this land by condemnation in 1897. The park grew 1.2 acres with two additional acquisitions in 1903 and 1905. A playground on the parcel of land in the northwestern end of the park opened in the summer of 1914, when the Parks and Playgrounds Association established new playgrounds in eight Bronx parks. The original playground included swings, shoot-the-chutes (slides), seesaws and swings for different age groups, as well as sandboxes, and basketball courts. According to the 1914 Annual Report of the Department of Parks, children were “drawn to these playgrounds where they were able to give full vent to their excess of feelings, and enjoy to the fullest extent those kinds of exercise which were conducive to their well-being both mentally and physically.” The current playground, built on the site of the old one, features modular play equipment with safety surfacing.
The rest of the park has a distinctively irregular shape, and is lined by the semicircular conjunction of East Tremont Avenue to the south, Valentine Avenue to the east, Burnside Avenue to the north, and parts of Ryer Avenue and East 178th Street to the west. Two boulders predominate, forming crevasses and summits that provide the park with wide variation in sunlight, elevation, and exposure. Walkways with terraced stairs conjoin its disparate elevations and provide access through the park. It is an inviting place to relax and explore.