The history of the Jackie Robinson Park, originally called Colonial Park, began in 1894 when the City of New York began to take over the land now bounded by 145th and 155th Streets and Edgecombe and Bradhurst Avenues. It was opened as a playground in 1911, just before the Great Migration changed the complexion of Harlem. The eastern border of the Park’s steep, rocky cliffs is the area celebrated in the Duke Ellington song “Take the A Train (Up to Sugar Hill in Harlem).”
Since its opening, the Park has served as a vital green space in Harlem, providing rest and recreation to generation after generation. In the 1930s, basketball courts, a wading pool and an additional playground were added. In 1936, the pool, designed by Robert Moses, was completed.
The 1960s and ‘70s were turbulent and challenging times in Harlem, and during these years the Park was basically a repository for drugs and chaos.
The Park was renamed in 1978 for the first African American major league baseball player.
The Jackie Robinson Park Conservancy was founded in 1999. The purpose of the Jackie Robinson Park Conservancy is to link neighborhood institutions and businesses, community residents, and volunteers to the Park in order to facilitate its events, maintenance and management. We are a part of the Historic Harlem Parks coalition — a coalition of volunteer advocacy groups representing Marcus Garvey, Morningside, St. Nicholas and Jackie Robinson Parks that organize community volunteers to get involved in park capital and beautification projects. The Park received a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development that partially funded a gardener. Under the gardener’s supervision, thousands of bulbs have been planted, creating a splendor of spring and summer flowers throughout the park. We actively participate in fundraising ventures in order to donate funds for various projects and purposes to the park to offset what we perceive as inadequate NYC Parks Department funding.
Over the past 6 years, we proudly produce annually:
A Summer Arts Festival
An African Film Festival ( viewed by over 700)
The Annual Park Clean-Up and Bulb Planting
The Annual Lights of Hope Tree Lighting Ceremony
The Annual Autumn Fundraiser
Jackie Robinson Park Conservancy serves Jackie Robinson Park located in Harlem / ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © Jackie Robinson Park Conservancy 2014