Vinmont Veteran Park
Sid Augarten Field
A prominent feature of Vinmont Veteran Park, this field honors Sid Augarten (1928-1971), who led the North Riverdale Baseball League for ten years.
Born in Brooklyn on March 28, 1928, Augarten graduated from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan before attending City College, where he studied chemistry. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, Augarten accepted a government position at the Engineer Research Development Laboratory at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, located near Washington D.C. During the Korean War (1950-53), Augarten was drafted into the army as a chemist, completing his service at Fort Belvoir.
On April 6, 1952, Augarten married Leonore Prusslin, whom he met while in college. After the war, Augarten entered the professional field of chemistry, and the couple settled in the Bronx. Here the Augartens raised two children, David and Alan, both of whom attended P.S. 81 and played for the North Riverdale Baseball League.
Augarten was an active proponent of the baseball league, coaching both of his children’s teams before becoming league commissioner and president. After a decade of involvement with the organization, Augarten passed away on May 24, 1971, at the age of 43. In 1987, a local law was passed, with the support of City Council Member June M. Eisland and other community members, officially naming this field for the man who had been so dedicated to the league’s development in this park.
The City acquired Vinmont Veteran Park, bound by Riverdale and Mosholu Avenues, and West 254th and 256th Streets, by condemnation in 1945. It opened as a park on September 26, 1951, originally known as P.S. 81 Playground because of the adjacent school. The field is notable for its unique contours: while the left and right field fences are 186 feet and 191 feet from home plate respectively, the centerfield fence is only 181 feet away.
In 1992 a renovation provided the park with a new backstop for Sid Augarten Field. The field received further upgrades in 2013, including a natural turf ballfield with new entry gates, perimeter fencing, accessible seating, dugouts and backstop, and drinking fountains. Native woodland areas were also reconstructed with additional plantings, and the drainage and water supply was improved.
Sid Augarten Field continues to serve as home to the North Riverdale Baseball League, which was granted responsibility for the upkeep of the field in 1993. Spectators regularly gather at the field to watch their kids play in the little league that Sid Augarten organized for years.