Trojan Courts, Aerial ViewTrojan Courts, Aerial View
Researcher Frank da Cruz has gathered research from a variety of sources here to conclude that the New Deal had some role in the development of the Trojan Courts area of the east side of Bronx Park:
This area includes the Trojan baseball fields (named after the Bronx Trojans, a 1930s amateur baseball team), the Trojan Courts (game courts), Brady Playground, and Ben Abrams (formerly Lydig) Playground.
Records of specific projects in this area are scant; we have only the May 4, 1936, press release from which it is clear that a baseball field was built on the site in 1936, and that more facilities were scheduled to be built. Reference 2 explains why this is a New Deal project, even though New Deal funding and labor are not credited in the press release. In any case, Reference 3 implicates the Works Progress Administration in the project.
The “courts” themselves are those at the bottom of the [aerial view] picture. There were originally six tennis courts, one basketball court, and four handball courts, but now it’s just basketball and handball…
While Trojan Field figures prominently in memoirs of the old days, the name seems to mostly fallen out of official use today. I couldn’t find any signs with the word Trojan. [Reference 5] below, however, confirms the location of Trojan Field…
From the scarce evidence I’ve been able to locate, I would conclude that:
- At least one, and probably both, of the ball fields were built by the Depression-Era Parks Department, meaning by the WPA with Parks supervision.
- The game courts (formerly tennis, now basketball) were in service by 1938, thus were subsequent units “of [the same] active recreational development…”
- Of the two playgrounds, Brady and Abrams (formerly Lydig), there is no history at all in the Parks Department press releases or in the historical matter on its present-day website that says when they were built. However, I’d say that since WPA crews were so busy in this area in 1936-38, and since they built so many other playgrounds in Bronx Park during the same period, it is not unreasonable to assume they built these two as well.
www.kermitproject.org: 1) NYC Parks Dept press release of May 4, 1936: 2) New Deal Assistance in NYC Parks Department Projects, 1934-43. 3) Bronx Park: Trojan Courts, NYC Parks Department website. 4) Random Memories of Youth (a blog on Wordpress.com). 5) Wasserman, AlanThe Passover Pugilist 6) NYC Parks Dept press release of March 26, 1938, which refers to 6 hard-surface tennis courts in Bronx Park at Brady Avenue and Bronx Park East.
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on August 29, 2015.
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