A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Countdown to the 275 March 12, 1733 America’s First Official Ball Field’s 214th Anniversary
COUNTDOWN TO 275
MARCH 12, 1733
AMERICA’S FIRST OFFICIAL BALL FIELD’S 274TH ANNIVERSARY
WHERE AFRICAN AMERICANS SLAVED BOWLING GREEN PARK TODAY LOOKING NORTH UP BROADWAY
With hundreds of millions of acres
all across North America and
even Manhattan Island
March 12, 1733
the first public park
In America was created
On the surface it seems a ridiculous notion if you think about it. The last thing anyone needed was a public park. The continent was a big public park. It was not until the 1800s that the second public park in North America was created.
It turn out the Colonial New Yorkers of 1733 didn’t really want a park at all what they wanted was a BALL Field officially sanctioned and maintained – a manicured flat grassy surface on which to play the ONLY sport that existed way back then at least among former Europeans who had settled in the New World.
That Sport was and is Lawn Bowling. Also known by the name boche and various others around the world. A fairly simple game indeed but it was the consuming passion of athletic colonists who just like us needed their Sports.
So they turned to the Common Council of New York City with their demand. And the City Fathers said we have NO money for this (unlike today when it comes to sports) and they turned to three local businessmen John Chambers, Peter Bayard and Peter Jay who agreed to create this lawn bowling outdoor “arena.”
For the public good and also maintain it. In return these City Fathers officially made the space a public park on March 12, 1733 for “the enjoyment of the sport of lawn bowling” and in the same resolution agreed to compensate the 3 New Yorkers who built and maintained the ball field the princely sum of one Peppercorn annually.
No not one Peppercorn each just one Peppercorn for the 3 to share.
( for the record the value of a Peppercorn …. nothing )
More important was the location for the country’s first Ball Field. The very very sacred place where the City of New York had been first settled and then founded as New Amsterdam on February 2, 1653. Now on March 12, 1733 it was officially named Bowling Green Park. The exact same name and shape it has today.
Prior to March 12, 1733 ….
This area at the very southern tip of Broadway had been the focal point of the colony since the very first Dutch landed here early in the 1600s. It was variously known by the locals as the parade grounds ( in front of the fort ), the market place, the commons and most of al it was the Town Square where all group activity took place both official and casual. It wa also where so called “justice” was metered out. Not infrequently “justice” for enslaved African Americans.
“Justice” such ss whippings, “justice” such as being put into the stocks, and the ultimate “justice” hanging by the neck until Death.
There were some Free Blacks in Old New York Town but most had been “imported” as Slaves for such edifying work as building the Wall on Wall Street in 1653, carting the trash, working in the fields, building roads. All those jobs that White Europeans preferred to be done by FREE labor by individuals who were their “property.”
Although there are no precise records who do you think most likely built and actually maintained the Ball Field known as Bowling Green Park.
And who do you know did NOT get to play lawn bowling in Bowling Green Park.
Of course if lawn bowling had become a professional sport back in the 1700s and someone had been smart enough to invent television back then it is very likely White lawn bowling team owners might have hired actually hired some African Americans to play for them if they kept their mouths shut so they could field the best teams and make even more money and buy more Slaves.
So now you know
what you never knew
but really should
all those fabulous
stadiums and arenas of today
can all trace their Roots
to a ball field opened
274 years ago today
Bowling Green Park
in Lower Manhattan
built one way or
another directly or
not on the backs of
Bowling Green !
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” THE MOST FAMOUS ATTRACTION AT BOWLING GREEN TODAY ARTURO DI MODICA’S “CHARGING BULL” IN THE SNOW