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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 this community in the New York State Assembly for thirty-six years. Born on February 10, 1920, Bill was educated in New York City public schools. He received a B.S. degree from New York University in 1940, served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and received the J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1948. Passannante worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1949 to 1953 and as Legislative Counsel to Abe Stark, the President of the New York City Council, in 1954.

In the fall of 1954, Bill Passannante was elected to the New York State Assembly from the old First Assembly District. He represented Greenwich Village and various parts of lower Manhattan from 1955 through 1990. During his long career as an Assemblyman, Passannante was known as an effective, liberal legislator as well as a political reformer. His dedication to the people of his community was legendary, and his work concerning issues involving children, education, civil and human rights, the environment, the arts, and cultural affairs earned Passannante praise.

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

The site of this ballfield was acquired by the City of New York for the construction of the Independent Subway whose line curves from the Avenue of the Americas to West Houston Street. In May 1934 the Board of Transportation granted the Department of Parks a permit to develop for playground purposes four parcels on West Houston Street. The park at the northeast corner of West Houston Street and the Avenue of the Americas was one of thirty-eight new playgrounds added to the Park system in the first four months of Robert Moses’s twenty-six year tenure as Parks Commissioner. It opened on September 14, 1934.

At the request of Community Board 2, the park was named by Commissioner Stern in 1998 to honor the memory of Bill Passannante. That year Mayor Giuliani funded a $130,000 requirements contract for substantial renovations to the park. Improvements included installing new basketball backstops and a drinking fountain, repaving the ballfields, repainting the basketball courts and softball fields, and renovating the baseball backstop.

This Village ballfield provides a fitting memorial to Bill Passannante, who felt that the people of Greenwich Village were part of his family. So, it can be said, he was part of theirs.

Park Information

Directions to William F. Passannante Ballfield

William F. Passannante Ballfield Weather

  • Tue
    Showers Likely and Patchy Fog then Chance T-storms
  • Wed
    Becoming Sunny
  • Thu
  • Fri
    Rain Likely

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