INDIAN POND, Fieldston

by Kevin Walsh

It was about a year ago that I made two separate trips to trot around Fieldston, a semiprivate neighborhood adjacent to Riverdale in the Bronx, sitting west of the vast Van Cortlandt Park. I returned to the VCP area just recently, though this time I traveled east to Woodlawn Cemetery; I will present my findings there soon enough.

I call Fieldston “semiprivate” because it’s ungated and unbarricaded, but groupings of more than two or three people raise eyebrows. Several years ago I was on Fieldston Road with Rich Melnick of the Greater Astoria Historical Society and Newtown Creek Alliance’s Mitch Waxman when we were accosted by a matron who, when we informed her we were scouting a tour, reminded us that those weren’t allowed in those parts.

Today, I want to discuss a little enclave you’d never find unless you were looking for it, Delafield Park, so called because it was carved out of the former Delafield Estate. It’s reachable via Livingston Avenue walking north from West 246th Street or Indian Road walking east from Fieldston Road, and is punctuated by a charming little pond known as Indian Pond, likely for the adjacent road. Native Americans resided in the Fieldston area and evidences of their former presence were discovered in archeological digs. I was not accosted by any matrons named Karen or otherwise, even though Delafield Park is supposed to be restricted to area residents.

According to the NY Times, in May 1913, the pond was the site of a play, “Hiawatha,” likely an adaptation of Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha” put on by Iroquois Indians from an upstate reservation near Lake Erie under the auspices of a body known as the Women’s Municipal League. It was enough of an event that it was attended by ex-president Theodore Roosevelt, Mrs. Roosevelt, and ex-Brooklyn and NYC mayor Seth Low. More from the Kingsbridge Historical Society.

One more interesting coincidence. The Buffalo Nickel, minted between 1913 and 1937, features a buffalo on the obverse and a Native American profile on the reverse. The buffalo was once on the brink of extinction, killed off for its meat. The herds were repopulated from a group of buffalo kept in the Bronx Zoo and van Cortlandt Park, both nearby in the Bronx.

Sergey, of course, has more on Indian Pond because it’s a Hidden Water.

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.



Walter Karling November 11, 2021 - 10:23 am

Is there signage at Fieldston to say “Keep Out”? What’s the legality about entering the roadways there?

Peter November 11, 2021 - 10:46 pm

As I understand it, it’s legal to drive or walk through the area, but not park on the streets.

Andrew November 11, 2021 - 11:35 pm

They are public roads maintained by the City you are legally entitled to be. You might gets looks from the locals though.

Andrew Porter November 11, 2021 - 11:14 am

Thanks, Sergey!

Howard Fein November 21, 2021 - 8:19 pm

You may also be challenged by locals when walking on side streets of Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn.

Kevin Walsh November 21, 2021 - 11:52 pm

A few years ago a blogger got grief when he reported the local youth in Gerritsen Beach were throwing rocks at buses.


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