Soundview Park (Bronx)
Soundview Park (sometimes referred to as Sound View Park) is a 205 acres (83 ha) park on Clason Point in the Bronx, New York, situated where the Bronx River flows into the East River, roughly opposite Riker's Island and Laguardia Airport. The park is adjacent to the Clason Point, Bronx, Shore Haven and Soundview, Bronx neighborhoods. The park is operated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
The park is bounded by the Bronx River Estuary/East River, Lafayette Avenue, Morrison Avenue, Story Avenue, Metcalf Avenue, O'Brien Avenue and Bronx River Avenue.
Soundview Park was built on landfill over intertidal marshland under Parks Commissioner Robert Moses during the administration of New York Mayor Fiorello Laguardia. The first 93 acres (38 ha) of the park were acquired by the City of New York in 1937. 66 acres (27 ha) more were acquired along the water's edge in December, 1939. Plans to dredge and fill the shoreline had been developed by Moses and Sanitation Commissioner William F. Carey in 1938, and the Board of Estimate approved initial funding for the construction project at Sound View Park in March, 1939.
The area remained largely undeveloped until the 1950s, and adjacent land was used in 1947 for a New York City Housing Authority temporary housing project made up of 947 apartments in 473 quonset huts. One remaining Quonset Hut is still visible on the south side of Seward Avenue at Croes Avenue. Further, more permanent public and private housing projects were built adjacent to the park in the 1950s.
In the Summer of 1942, a strange gas that caused silver to tarnish and gave humans headaches and nausea was noticed in the Clason Point neighborhood. Experts and residents initially suspected that the garbage in the landfill under the parkland had not been handled properly, but finally the cause was determined to be dumping of sulphur from a Consolidated Edison plant into nearby stagnant pools.
According to the NYC Parks Department Website, subsequent extensions of the park were made by purchase of adjacent land in 1952 and 1967, when the park reached its current size.
Soundview Park is equipped with playgrounds, running tracks, sports fields, basketball and handball courts, and kayak/canoe launching sites along the Bronx River Estuary. A bike path runs through the park from Lafayette Avenue to Leland Avenue.
As part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's PlaNYC city planning initiative, the park is slated to be redesigned by landscape architects Thomas Balsley Associates. The landscape architects describe their planned intervention at Soundview Park:
TBA envisions transformation through the design of Neighborhood Gateway park spaces at the edges of the residential communities, developing passive recreation opportunities throughout the park, enhancing existing active recreation opportunities, opening the waterfront to the park’s visitors and creating a naturalized zone in the contaminated landfill areas through environmental remediation.
- New York City web site
- NYC Parks History page
- Thomas Balsley Associates Project website
- PlaNYC Project Overview
- Greenway Master Plan: Soundview Park to Ferry Point Park
- Larson, Marit; Paul Mankiewicz (2006). "Restoring Soundview Park HEP Priority Restoration Site LI10". Harbor Estuary News. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
- "Bronx Area Benefited; New Park Will Stimulate Home Building, States Broker". New York Times. June 6, 1937.
- "Extension of Park in Bronx Approved; Estimate Board Authorizes the Acquisition of 66 More Acres at Sound View". New York Times. December 15, 1939.
- "Funds Are Voted to Start New Park; Estimate Board Approves of Moses-Carey Plan to Fill Sound View in Bronx; 150-Acre Tract is Aim; Dumping Operations at Riker's Island To Be Transferred to the New Project". New York Times. March 3, 1939.
- "2,000 Houses Given to the City By U.S. For Emergency Use; Quonset Huts Allocated". New York Times. January 17, 1946.
- "Taxi Driver Saves 7 From Gas Poison; Quonset Hut Resident Finds His Family and Neighbors in Bronx Unconscious". New York Times. January 20, 1952.
- "Bronx Area Fights Taint". New York Times. July 3, 1942.
- "Sulphur Refuse Dumped out By Gas Plant Said to Cause Odor That Nauseates Bronxites". New York Times. August 18, 1942.
- "Soundview Park (project description)". Thomas Balsley Associates. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
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