John Mullaly (1835–1915), known as father of the Bronx park system, was a newspaper reporter and editor who was instrumental in forming the New York Park Association. Mullaly Park in the Bronx, which lies between Jerome Avenue and River Avenue in the South Bronx, is named after him. He was born in Belfast, Ireland. After coming to the United States, he worked for the New York Herald, the New York Tribune, and the New York Evening Post. He was the editor of the Metropolitan Record, published by the Catholic Church in New York City.
He held public office, including serving as the New York Commissioner of Health, and serving on the board of tax assessors.
In 1887, he published a book with the impressive title, New Parks beyond the Harlem with Thirty Illustrations and Map; Descriptions of Scenery; Nearly 4000 Acres of Free Playground for the People; Abundant space for a Parade Ground, a Rifle Range, Base Ball, Lacrosse, Polo, Tennis and all athletic games; picnic and excursion parties and nine mile of waterfront for bathing fishing, yachting and rowing. Scanned images and full text of this book are available on-line.
Mullaly was a controversial figure during the Civil War, one of New York City's ardent opponents to the draft. On August 19, 1864, John Mullaly was arrested for inciting resistance to the draft and examined a few days later for possible trial.
In 1874 when New York City annexed the west Bronx from Westchester County, Mullally sought to create public parks in the Bronx, and founded the New York Park Association in 1881. His efforts culminated in the 1884 New Parks Act and the city’s 1888-90 purchase of lands for Van Cortlandt, Claremont, Crotona, Bronx, St. Mary’s, and Pelham Bay Parks and the Mosholu, Pelham and Crotona Parkways.
- Editor of the Metropolitan Record arrested for inciting resistance NY Times, 1864 Aug 20
- "Examination of John Mullaly, Charged with Inciting Resistance to the Draft". The New York Times. August 25, 1864. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
- A Trip to Newfoundland: Its Scenery and Fisheries, by John Mullaly
- New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
- NY-NJ-CT Botany Online website, including a chronology.
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