The mysterious staircase near 158th Street

At the tail end of Highbridge Park, at about 158th Street and Edgecombe Avenue in Harlem, lies a decrepit staircase. It’s in bad shape, fenced off from pedestrians.

So where did it lead to? It’s the last remnant of the Polo Grounds, home to the New York Giants baseball team from 1890 until 1957, when they departed for San Francisco.

The staircase took fans down to the stadium, which was built against a cliff here called Coogan’s Bluff.

You can still read the plaque on one the landings: “The John T. Brush Stairway Presented By the New York Giants.”

John T. Brush was the Giants’ owner who rebuilt the Polo Grounds after a fire in 1911. The team dedicated the then-new staircase to him in 1913, who had died a year earlier.

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16 Responses to “The mysterious staircase near 158th Street”

  1. Bookpod Says:

    Fame really is fleeting. Can’t help but wonder if the buildings funded by people like Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg will meet the same fate…

  2. Wanderingbytheway Says:

    Beautiful photo.

  3. Lilly Says:

    I just saw this last Friday & have been wondering what the heck it was….. Very cool! I found some other mystery staircases on my journeys around the heights & often wonder how to find out where they once led too…

  4. Amy Says:

    That’s a beautiful story. But I wonder who was this Coogan fellow? I own a short street in Riverdale that my father purchased at auction way back when. It was called Coogan’s Alley. It’s no longer called that but has a street number sign that city put up in the last couple of years. I’ve always wondered who Coogan was though.

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    Coogan was a local real-estate bigwig and Manhattan borough president in 1898. Maybe he owned Coogan’s Alley?

  6. New York Online: Considering Some Things Mysterious - Says:

    […] would be complete without a vine-strewn stone staircase to nowhere. Ephemeral New York takes a brief trip down the stairs on 158th Street and Edgecombe Avenue, “the last remnant of the Polo Grounds, home […]

  7. Another Ghost « Distant Voices, Vibrating Electrons Says:

    […] later), “under Coogan’s Bluff.” which had been turned into Highbridge Park. The stair shown above was a shortcut for fans from the street through the park down to the stadium, which was […]

  8. West Holllywood Real Estate Says:

    I’ve got to say that this was a solid read. I actually felt like I’ve learned something new and exciting! Thank you so much.

  9. Before they were the New York Jets… « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] York Titans. Formed in 1960 as part of the new American Football League, the Titans played at the crumbling Polo Grounds—former home turf of baseball’s New York […]

  10. Where was Yankee Stadium almost built? « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] 1921, after sharing the Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan with the Giants for a decade, the two team were butting heads—especially with the Yankees selling more […]

  11. new york jets Says:

    new york jets…

    […]The mysterious staircase near 158th Street « Ephemeral New York[…]…

  12. Where home plate once was at the Polo Grounds « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] plaque is rusted and old—a faded bit of New York baseball history, like this secret staircase that once led to the Polo Grounds. Like this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  13. aspicco Says:

    Sadly, the secret staircase is no more… I had been on it last summer (2011) but when I went looking for this Spring, it was newly fenced off and torn down. The area is being renovated…

  14. Rafael Says:

    That whole area should be demolished or torn down what a crap hole is this area. Drugs and wel

  15. 19.5 miles of the Great Saunter – Says:

    […] 155th. The restored Polo Grounds Stairs had reopened in 2014 after years of talk and being “a mystery” as recently as […]

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