William F. Passannante Ballfield

William F. Passannante Ballfield

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This ballfield is named in memory of William F. Passannante (1920-1996), a lifelong Villager who represented his community in the New York State Assembly for thirty-six years.  Born on February 10, 1920, Passannante was educated in New York City public schools and received a B.S. degree from New York University in 1940. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School. 

Passannante worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1949 to 1953 and as Legislative Counsel to the President of the New York City Council in 1954. That same year, Passannante was elected to the New York State Assembly.  He represented Greenwich Village and various parts of lower Manhattan from 1955 through 1990. Passannante’s dedication to the community was legendary, and his far-ranging accomplishments earned him much praise.

Passannante was appointed Deputy Speaker in 1977 and named Speaker Pro Tem in 1979. He served as President of the National Conference of State Legislatures in 1982 and 1983. A prominent Democrat-Liberal, Passannante was honored by Republican President Ronald Reagan with an appointment to the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations in 1983.  After his retirement from the Assembly in 1990, he was appointed Commissioner of the New York State Commission of Investigation.  Passannante held the post until his death on December 15, 1996.

This site was acquired by the City of New York for the construction of the Independent Subway. In May 1934 the Board of Transportation granted NYC Parks permission to develop four parcels on West Houston Street for playground purposes. The northeastern parcel was one of thirty-eight new playgrounds added to the NYC Parks system during the first four months of Robert Moses’s twenty-six year tenure as Parks Commissioner. It opened on September 14, 1934. 

In 1998, at the request of Community Board 2, the park was named in honor of Bill Passannante. That same year, the park underwent reconstruction. New basketball backboards and a drinking fountain were installed, the ballfields were repaved, the basketball courts and softball fields were repainted, and the baseball backstop was renovated. This ballfield is a fitting tribute to William Passannante, who was greatly committed to the people of the Greenwich Village community.

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