Posts Tagged ‘Coogan’s Bluff’

The mysterious staircase near 158th Street

October 4, 2010

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.

Two views of the Polo Grounds

April 4, 2009

The Polo Grounds, home of the New York Giants until 1957, doesn’t get the adulation Ebbets Field and the old Yankee Stadium receive. This photo dates to about 1920; check out the decorative motifs on the left:

pologrounds1920

The bathtub-shaped stadium was located at Eighth Avenue and 155th Street, at the bottom of a steep hill rising from the Harlem River called Coogan’s Bluff.

Why the Polo Grounds, when no polo was played there? In the 1880s, the Giants held their games at a polo field on Fifth Aveune and 110th Streets. When they moved uptown, they took the name with them.

After the Giants shipped out to San Francisco, the Mets played there for their first seasons in 1962 and 1963.

pologroundscolor

Torn down in 1964, it’s now the site of the Polo Grounds housing project. Reportedly the demolition crew wore Giants jerseys and tipped their hats in homage to the stadium.