Vinmont Veteran Park
Vinmont Veteran Park
Vinmont Veteran Park serves as a memorial to honor local veterans who served their country in past wars. The park is named after both the surrounding Vinmont neighborhood and adjacent Vinmont Road. These, in turn, are named after Robert C. Weinberg (1902-1974), who designed the private development and the road that serves it. “Weinberg,” meaning “wine mountain” in German, translates to “vinmont” in French. Robert Weinberg, an architect and city planner, was an employee of New York City’s Department of Parks during the 1930s. Responsible for locating and selecting sites for playgrounds, Weinberg redesigned playgrounds according to local needs rather than following formula-like guidelines—an unconventional practice for the time.
The surrounding neighborhood of Riverdale is a historically affluent residential section of the northwestern Bronx. Financed in part by the prominent Dodge, Goodrich, and Spaulding families, this area began as a real estate venture in 1856, when it was laid out and given the name Riverdale Park. After a railroad station called Riverdale-on-Hudson opened in the area in the late 1850s, the rural setting became a fashionable spot for the elite to build summer mansions on grand estates. One of the few remnants of this era is Dodgewood, an exclusive neighborhood of winding roads and fine homes bounded by Arlington and Palisades Avenues, between West 243rd and West 245th Streets. Dodgewood was once owned by William E. Dodge, a wealthy landowner whose property extended into Westchester County. Most of the large estates in the area were sold to institutions and developers in the era between the world wars.
In 1884, the road now known as Riverdale Avenue was surveyed and vested, providing further access to this area along the Hudson River. Riverdale Avenue was originally known as Westchester Avenue because it was the main route to Westchester County. In the 1930s, construction of the Henry Hudson Parkway and the extension of a bus line into the area spurred further development. A number of one-family homes sprouted throughout the region in the first half of the 20th century, giving the area its current wealthy suburban character.
One of the park’s most noticeable features is Sid Augarten Field, a baseball field named in honor of Sid Augarten (1927-1971), who served as commissioner and president of the North Riverdale Baseball League for ten years. Also within the park is Mosholu Playground. “Mosholu” was the Algonquin name for Tibbett’s Brook, a stream that runs southward through nearby Van Cortlandt Park. “Mosholu” means “smooth stones” or “small stones,” and refers to the sleek stones that can still be found in the brook today.
This parkland, bounded by Riverdale and Mosholu Avenues and West 254th and 256th Streets, was acquired by the city by condemnation in 1945 and 1947, and opened as a park on September 26, 1951. Originally known as P.S. 81 Playground because of the adjacent school, the park acquired its current name by local law in November 1996. In 1992, a $345,000 renovation provided new fencing, curbs, benches, picnic tables, landscape work, new water fountains, and a new backstop for Sid Augarten Field.
The park is currently home to the North Riverdale Baseball League, a youth league. In 1993, the league was granted responsibility for the upkeep of Sid Aurgarten Field, using Parks equipment. With its surrounding trees, playground, and ballpark, Vinmont Veterans Park provides the neighborhood with a peaceful spot for sport and recreation that can be enjoyed by all.