Pelham Bay Park

Pelham Bay Park
At over 2,700 acres, Pelham Bay Park is the city's largest park. Like many of New York City's parks, the land on which it sits has a long and intricate history. When the Dutch West India Company purchased the land from Native Americans in 1639, they ... more
At over 2,700 acres, Pelham Bay Park is the city's largest park. Like many of New York City's parks, the land on which it sits has a long and intricate history. When the Dutch West India Company purchased the land from Native Americans in 1639, they termed the area "Vreedelandt," meaning land of freedom. However, after years of unsuccessful attempts by Europeans to settle the land, the area was still controlled by the Siwanoy. The most well-known of these failed communities was the short-lived English colony of Anne Hutchinson. Split Rock, a large glacial boulder in whose crevice Hutchinson sought refuge, still lies in the northwest park. In 1654 Englishman Thomas Pell, who had purchased 9,100 acres of land in Westchester and the Bronx, signed a peace pact with Siwanoy leader, Chief Wampage. Pell effectively settled the land, including the tract that is now Pelham Bay Park, in what was the beginning of the British takeover of the region. Parkgoers can visit the site of the tree where he and the Siwanoy made their pacts. Although the original oak is gone, a replacement tree stands in the fenced area northwest of the mansion. During the Revolutionary War, Pell's land was part of t... more
At over 2,700 acres, Pelham Bay Park is the city's largest park. Like many of New York City's parks, the land on which it sits has a long and intricate history. When the Dutch West India Company purchased the land from Native Americans in 1639, they termed the area "Vreedelandt," meaning land of freedom. However, after years of unsuccessful attempts by Europeans to settle the land, the area was still controlled by the Siwanoy. The most well-known of these failed communities was the short-lived English colony of Anne Hutchinson. Split Rock, a large glacial boulder in whose crevice Hutchinson sought refuge, still lies in the northwest park. In 1654 Englishman Thomas Pell, who had purchased 9,100 acres of land in Westchester and the Bronx, signed a peace pact with Siwanoy leader, Chief Wampage. Pell effectively settled the land, including the tract that is now Pelham Bay Park, in what was the beginning of the British takeover of the region. Parkgoers can visit the site of the tree where he and the Siwanoy made their pacts. Although the original oak is gone, a replacement tree stands in the fenced area northwest of the mansion.

During the Revolutionary War, Pell's land was part of the buffer between the British-held Manhattan and rebel-held Westchester. Hiding behind stone walls, 600 Massachusetts Patriots stopped the British and Hessian forces from making their way north. Remains of the walls can be seen in the Split Rock Golf Course. Parcels of the Pell estate were sold by Pell's descendants in the 17th and 18th centuries and the land was further divided and developed during the 19th century.

In the 1800s Bronx resident and founder of the New York Parks Association, John Mullaly, spearheaded a movement to retain some of the natural areas before they were destroyed by overdevelopment. In 1888, by consolidating several estates, the city acquired the land that was to become Pelham Bay Park, for a total cost of $2,746,688. This park truly reflected the name given to the land by the Dutch, serving as a refuge from an expanding urban sprawl.

Many of the park's historic features remain observable to the modern park visitor. Hunter Mansion, built in 1804, once housed a collection of fine wines as well as paintings by European masters. Remnants of this mansion, visited by President Martin Van Buren in 1839, remain on Hunter Island. Today only fragments of the foundation and landscaped features endure. Another magnificent building has been better preserved, and is a noted city and national landmark. The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum was built between 1836 and 1842 by Robert Bartow, a descendant of Thomas Pell. The estate, replacing the one destroyed during the Revolutionary War, reflects the period's federal architectural style and is adorned by a terraced garden.

Several memorials in the park honor our country's troops. The Bronx Victory Column and Memorial Grove honors the Bronx residents who made the ultimate sacrifice--giving their lives to protect their country in World War I. A second monument, a plaque at Glover's Rock, commemorates the Revolutionary War battle at Pell Point which stalled British troops, enabling Washington to reach White Plains, where he was victorious.

Pelham Bay Park has many significant environmental features. Its variety of habitats enables one to see a diversity of wildlife throughout the park. A swamp in the Central Woodlands is a prime environment for migrant songbirds and ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Free Wi-Fi is available in this park.

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Info

Pelham Bay Park
Bronx, NY
(718) 430-1890
Website

Editorial Rating

Admission And Tickets

Free

This Week's Hours

Sunrise - 1 am

Nearby Subway

  • to Pelham Bay Park -- 0.7

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