NYC Parks breaks ground on Little Claremont Park

NYC Parks breaks ground on Little Claremont Park
Bronx Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa (2nd from l), Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson (3rd from l), NYC Parks Commissioner Silver (c), P.S. 42 students and faculty broke ground.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

Officials broke ground on a $3.3 million reconstruction project at Little Claremont Park in Claremont on Tuesday, August 29.

Under the Community Parks Initiative, the NYC Parks Department will begin a total transformation of the park, including new play equipment for ages five to 12, a spray shower, community garden, synthetic turf field, and an outdoor classroom/performance area, according to a news release.

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver joined Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, Community Board district manager John Dudley, and students and teachers from P.S. 42 to break ground on a total reconstruction of Little Claremont Park. The project is part of the Community Parks Initiative.

The project, with funding provided by the mayor’s office, is anticipated to be completed by the spring of 2018.

CPI is a multi-faceted program launched in 2014 to invest in under-resourced public parks located in New York City’s densely populated and growing neighborhoods with higher-than-average concentrations of poverty, according to the release.

CPI is investing $318 million through 2019 to make renovations on more than 60 community parks that have not undergone significant improvements in decades.

“Today is the start of a huge transformation for Little Claremont Park,” Silver said. “As of next spring, the students of P.S. 42 and all Claremont families will have a better-than-new park.”

Claremont Community Park, bounded by Claremont Parkway between Park and Washington Avenues, has been under the wing of P.S. 42 since 1992.

The school, which has been instrumental in the creation of this green space, was established in 1906.

This property became a GreenThumb Garden in May 1994.

GreenThumb is a Parks initiative that facilitates the transformation of vacant city lots into community gardens.

In 1998, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s office approved the permanent jurisdiction and management of this garden by Parks.

The NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services then assigned the property to Parks on July 12, 1999.

The neighborhood of Claremont derives its name from a mansion that once stood in what is now Claremont Park, according to the website:

The park was originally part of the old Morris family estate, established in 1679.

Aware of encroaching suburban development with the arrival of the New York and Harlem River Railroad, Gouverneur Morris II (1813-1888) auctioned off much of his land in 1848.

Newlyweds Elliott Zborowski de Montsaulain and Anna Bathgate acquired a parcel in the northern portion of the former Morris property soon after.

Anna had grown up on the neighboring Bathgate estate, which now constitutes Crotona Park.

In 1859, the couple built Claremont Mansion, renowned for its white marble sculptural decor, and developed the extensive grounds with terraced lawns that descended to the Mill Brook (now Webster Avenue).

There is also a Claremont Playground in Manhattan’s Riverside Park.

Reach Reporter Bob Guiliano at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at

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