Crotona Park is a public park in the Bronx, New York City, United States. It covers 127.5 acres (0.516 km2) or 0.5 square miles (130 ha) of area that includes a 3.3 acres (1.3 ha) lake, as well as the Bronx's largest swimming pool and 28 species of trees. The park is bounded by Crotona Park West (also known as Fulton Avenue), Crotona Park North, Crotona Park East, and Crotona Park South; Claremont Parkway and Crotona Avenue pass through it. The Crotona Play Center is in the western part of the park. Robert Moses famously refused to realign the Cross-Bronx Expressway, which is located several blocks north of the park's northern boundary, to pass along the edge of the park and save a number of homes from demolition.
Late in August, the park is the location of the EmblemHealth Bronx Open, an International Tennis Federation women's tennis tournament with a $100,000 purse which features players in the top 100, who use the tournament as a "tune-up" for the U.S. Open which begins the following week. The Bronx Open also hosts the United States Tennis Association's National Junior Doubles championship for boys and girls age 14-16. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the New York Junior Tennis League.
Crotona Play Center is the only swimming pool complex built by the Works Progress Administration in the Bronx. It opened in July 1936. Named for the ancient Greek city of Croton, it is located in Crotona Park on property which was formerly the estate of the Bathgate family. It was designated a New York City landmark in 2007.
The Crotona Play Center was completed during the tenure of influential New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses. Herbert Magoon and others shared credit as the architect, Aymar Embury II was the consulting architect, and Gilmore D. Clarke and others were the landscape architects. Its design combines Art Moderne and Modern Classical elements. The primary buildings are decorated with sculptures by Frederick Roth, including ibis - topped pilasters on the bathhouse and bas-reliefs in the sitting niches which are adjacent to the pool.
The facility is entered through a very large arched brick gateway, which is overlooked by glass-block skylights. A large bathhouse is situated between the pool and a wading pool area used at an earlier time. The interior of the bathhouse is admirable, with mirror-image locker rooms and arched concrete buttresses extending across overhead.
The facility has been run by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation since its construction. It was restored by the city in 1984 and continues to function as a swimming pool and bathhouse.
In popular culture
- "Crotona Park", New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, retrieved on July 19, 2008
- "EmblemHealth Bronx Open" on the EnblemHealth website
- New York Junior Tennis League website
- 2010 Bronx Open at ITF website
- "Crotona Play Center (designation report)" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
- "Crotona Park (Historical sign text)". New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
- I Love New York Guide, Marilyn J. Appleberg, Collier Books, 1986
- Guide To New York City Landmarks, John Wiley and Sons, 2007, pg. 327.