Thomas Jefferson Park


Thursday, November 9, 2017
No. 116

NYC Parks Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro joined City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, co-founder of Go! Sports Ray Mendez and local skaters yesterday to cut the ribbon on the newly constructed skate park in East Harlem’s Thomas Jefferson Park.

“Thomas Jefferson Park has something for every athlete – from track to handball courts, swimming pools to baseball fields,” said Commissioner Castro. “We’re so pleased to add a brand new space for all the East Harlem skate enthusiasts to practice their kickflips and ollies, as well as a newly reconstructed basketball courts. I’d like to thank Council Speaker Mark-Viverito for her support to make this great neighborhood park even better.”

“Previously, the only local options skaters had in the area were empty basketball courts and parking lots. If they wanted to go to an actual skate park, they had to go downtown or to Astoria. Well, no longer,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The Council is glad to have committed $650,000 in capital funding to help make the Thomas Jefferson Skate Park a reality. Now, we will finally have a skate park for all kids in the community to enjoy.”

“This skate park will be an epicenter and hub for the skating community of East Harlem,” said Ray Mendez, co-founder of Go! Sports, an organization that promotes skateboarding throughout the city. “Not only will kids skate with each other, but they’ll become like family. Skaters are a tight-knit community, and this skate park will reinforce their bonds.”

“Manhattan Community Board 11 welcomes our new skate park in El Barrio/East Harlem," said Diane Collier, Chair of Board 11. "I say 'our' as the community had a say in its design. People of any age can play and walk to the skate park, and they also can enjoy Thomas Jefferson Park’s other offerings. The new skate park is located where travelers on the Harlem River Drive will see the kind of playground often in affluent neighborhoods, and more importantly see a showcase for El Barrio's athletic skating skills. Thanks to NYC Parks for building this wonderful addition to our park space, and to Madam Speaker for her advocacy, engagement and funding for the El Barrio skate park.”

The new skate park at Thomas Jefferson Park was designed to provide the East Harlem community with a place for skaters of all levels of expertise to enjoy. Skaters now have a fully constructed reinforced concrete surface that includes precast concrete skate components—it replaces a 0.2 acre area of pre-existing asphalt pavement and one volleyball court. Additionally, the nearby basketball courts have been rehabilitated with new color sealcoat as a part of the project, and a four foot chain link fence separates the courts from the skate park. Construction began in March 2017.

Thomas Jefferson Park’s new skate park was funded by Council Speaker Mark-Viverito ($650,000) and Mayor Bill de Blasio ($80,000).

During the course of his forty years in public life, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) had a profound influence on the formation of the American legal and political system. He began his career as a lawyer and a farmer and became a champion of equal rights, religious freedom and public education. In 1776 Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence. He went on to serve as governor of Virginia (1779-81), minister to France (1785-89), and Secretary of State under Washington (1790-93). He was elected Vice President in 1796 and then served two terms as President from 1801-1809. Aside from his political influence, Jefferson’s legacy includes creating the decimal monetary system and founding and designing the University of Virginia.

This park was planned and named by the Board of Aldermen in 1894, though the land for it was not purchased until 1897. It opened on October 7, 1905 to provide organized play to the children of "Little Italy," as the crowded tenement district in East Harlem was then known.

Directions to Thomas Jefferson Park

Know Before You Go

Recreation CentersThomas Jefferson Recreation Center

As of June 15, 2021, Thomas Jefferson Recreation Center is open on a limited basis. Our recreation centers are currently only open to patrons with an active membership as of March 2020. We are not registering new members at this time.

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