JOHN MULLALY PARK
Jerome Avenue and W. 164th Street (recreation center), Highbridge neighborhood, Bronx, New York
The parks honors the Father of the Bronx park system.
1835 -- John Mullaly born in Belfast, Ireland. He came to the United States as a young man. He became a special correspondent for the New York Herald. Later he would work at the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. Furthermore, he was the editor of the Metropolitan Record, at the time the official publication of the Roman Catholic Church in New York City
He served as secretary to the inventor of the telegraph, Samuel F. B. Morse.
1857-58 -- he reported on the laying of the first Transatlantic Cable.
He served as New York Commissioner of Health and member of the board of tax assessors for two terms..
1874 -- the southern Bronx was annexed by New York City
1881 -- Mullaly helped found the New York Park Association. He became a tireless proponent of green space and is therefore called the father of the Bronx parks system. Members included: Isaac Bell, J. M. Carnochan, William Cauldwell, H. B. Claflin, W. E. Conner, Charles Crary, David Dows, S. R. Filley, John Fitch, H. P. de Graaf, Franklin Edson, Henry L. Hoguet, Waldo Hutchins (president), Leonard Jerome, L.R. Marsh (vice-president), Lewis May, George W. McClean, Lewis G. Morris, Jordan L. Mott, John Mullaly (secretary), W. W. Niles (treasurer), Major-General Shaler, Augustus Schell, Gustav Schwab, Charles J. Stephens, Egbert L. Viele, and Joseph F. Wood.
Mayors Franklin Edson (1883-1884) and William Russell Grace (1885-1886) became opponents of the parks proposition.
1884 -- passage of the New Parks Act.
1887 -- Mullaly published New Parks beyond the Harlem with Thirty Illustrations and Map; Descriptions of Scenery; Nearly 4000 Acres of Free Playground for the People; Abundant space for a Parade Ground, a Rifle Range, Base Ball, Lacrosse, Polo, Tennis and all athletic games; picnic and excursion parties and nine mile of waterfront for bathing fishing, yachting and rowing. In the book he tirelessly promoted the idea of acquiring new parks for the Bronx and answered all the objections of those opposing the new parks. He described the new parks in glowing, sometimes overflowing terms. Furthermore, he described those who worked for the new parks and those who opposed the new acquisitions.
1888-90 -- purchase of lands for Van Cortlandt, Claremont, Crotona, Bronx, St. Mary’s, and Pelham Bay Parks as well as the Mosholu, Pelham, and Crotona Parkways. Suddenly, the city’s parkland had increased fivefold.
1911 -- the death of John Mullaly.
1924 -- the City acquired land for a park on seven blocks to the east and west of Cromwell Avenue.
1925 -- the City acquired part of the Cromwell Avenue street bed.
1929 -- East 162nd Street was relocated eastward, expanding the acreage of Macombs Dam Park and cutting the acreage of Mullaly Park.
1932 -- the first playground in the park opened.
1939 -- the triangular parcel bounded by Mullaly Park and Cromwell and Jerome Avenues was reassigned to the Board of Education for the site of P.S. 114.
1942 -- plans made in for handball, basketball, paddle tennis, volleyball, ice skating, and rollerskating facilities in the southern end of the park.
1962 -- a slender strip of land along East 162nd Street was assigned to Parks.
Mullaly Park was developed as a multi-use recreational facility that complements Macombs Dam Park to the south.
late 1960s -- new construction included a wading pool, swimming pool, bathhouse, ice rink, skate shop, and snack bar.
early 1970s -- tennis courts and softball fields added.
1988 -- skate park added (and used by skateboarders, rollerbladers, rollerskaters, and BMX-riders).
1998 -- Council Member Reverend Wendell Foster funded a $3,154,000 reconstruction of a portion of the park.
2001 -- the Foster reconstruction completed, including two new playgrounds.
Other additions: large spray play area, two new mini soccer fields, and new fencing.