GAELIC PARK, Riverdale

by Kevin Walsh

There’s an admission fee for most events at Gaelic Park on West 240th near Broadway, but I was able to sneak in for a couple of photos. Named in honor of Riverdale’s large Irish-American population, it has been home to soccer, softball and hurling for decades; my father attended matches here. It has been home to Manhattan College Jaspers soccer team since 1991, when the school purchased the grounds. There is a dance hall and cultural venue as well. In the 1970s Gaelic Park was a lively rock venue; the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers and Deep Purple have all appeared here.


“Because it’s in the Bronx – and in a way, its not in the Bronx – it creates a space where things can happen. I was also amazed that an immigrant culture involved so many performances in everyday life. I mean, yes it was just a pub, and a field, but it was also a theater pit, and an arena – it can become all of these things, depending on the need and the occasion. No other ethnicity in New York has a cultural space that is anything remotely like it.” Irish Echo (the link has been removed online)

Behind the field we see some traincars laid up in the 240th, or Van Cortlandt, NYC subway yard. The yard is celebrating its 114th anniversary along with the Broadway el, as operations began in 1906.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”

4/10/20

10 comments

Ron S April 10, 2020 - 11:11 am

Gaelic Park is one of several stadiums of its type formerly in NYC, but many are no longer here. Eintracht Oval in Astoria was similar-home to athletic and community events for many decades, especially soccer. Sometime in probably the late 60’s, it was demolished and became a Shoprite. I have been unable to find many pictures of it.

Reply
Brendan Carroll July 26, 2020 - 9:18 pm

Not to split hairs, but having done a title search against property, for insurance purposes, I can state that Manhattan College never
owned land under Gaelic Park. The College leases field from NYC MTA.

Reply
Kevin Walsh July 27, 2020 - 9:12 am

Thx–adjusted

Reply
Bill Friedman April 10, 2020 - 1:23 pm

In case anyone is interested or there is a Forgotten NY fan that is a Dead Head, here is a link to the Dead’s Gaelic Park performance on 8/26/71
https://archive.org/details/gd1971-08-26.sbd.fixed.miller-rolfe.32351.sbeok.flac16

Reply
Andy April 10, 2020 - 9:24 pm

Nice posting. I was intrigued by the larger banner in the left foreground that says “NYU at Gaelic Park.” There’s a bit of historical irony behind it. NYU at one time had a second campus in The Bronx, a few miles away, known as University Heights. FNY did a feature about in March 2008. Known popularly as “NYU Uptown” it became Bronx Community College in 1973 when NYU sold it to CUNY in order to concentrate on its Washington Square Campus.
I was an undergraduate at NYU Uptown 1965-69, from which I received my bachelor’s degree. In those bygone days, NYU was a Division I basketball power and two of its biggest rivals were its Bronx neighbors Manhattan College and Fordham University. The rivalry could be quite intense, and the games were played at Madison Square Garden to provide adequate spectator seating. The thought of NYU using Manhattan College’s field would have elicited more than laughs in those days. I am assuming that the contemporary banner means that NYU plays soccer at Gaelic Park, since there is no such facility at Washington Square. Maybe a more contemporary NYU person can update me.

Reply
Ed Findlay April 13, 2020 - 12:04 am

Laughable in the past, but Gaelic Park really is home to both the Jaspers and the NYU Violets soccer teams play there, but only Manhattan’s other teams also use the facility.

the Violets used to play in Van Cortlandt Park but moved there after the renovation.
https://gonyuathletics.com/sports/2008/8/19/gaelicpark.aspx

Reply
Andy April 13, 2020 - 11:16 am

Thank you for the update. Makes sense. But like you said, not very likely in my undergraduate days.

Reply
Rich T April 12, 2020 - 6:29 pm

Thanks for the link, nice soundboard of the Dead, they were at their peak in the early seventies. Great Dead Archive site…….

Reply
John Zane November 9, 2020 - 10:50 pm

I was a regular at GAELIC PARK and saw many shows in the early 70;s, including ELP, Yes, Mountain, Humble Pie, Rory Gallagher, Jefferson Airplane, JF Murphy & Salt, and of course The Jeff Beck Group !!!! Most shows were $5.00 e Ticket, and you could bring a picnic dinner and your beverage of choice. What a great time was had by all !!!!!

Reply
john m kearns December 24, 2020 - 7:17 pm

Leslie West’s obit in today’s NYTimes brought back memories of July 1971 when I saw Mountain, Yes, and Humble Pie at Gaelic Park all on the same bill. As I recall, it was one of the few concert venues at that time where you could buy beer. They should never have pulled the plug on Mountain that evening (curfew).
I might have forgotten where I felt my car keys this morning, but I will never forget that evening 50 years ago at Gaelic Park

Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.