Van Cortlandt Park - Photo #6 - Van Cortlandt Stadium


The Van Cortlandt Stadium running track and grandstand, built by the WPA between 1936[1] and 1939[2]. The WPA's purpose was to put the maximum number of unemployed people to work and therefore its policy was to spend as much as possible on labor and as little as possible on materials. For this reason, cheap concrete was one of its favorite construction materials and, indeed, it tends to discolor over time. This is almost as sure a sign of a structure's WPA origins as its Art Moderne styling, also evident here (for another prominent example, see the Orchard Beach bathhouse). The track was originally cinder; it has been resurfaced with an all-weather rubberized material. The interior playing field, originally grass, is now artificial turf. To see how this area looked in 1978-79 (immaculate grandstand but the athletic field was bare dirt and the track was grey cinders) see the football game at the end of the film The Wanderers.


  1. NYC Parks Dept press release of November 7, 1936.
  2. NYC Parks Dept press release of September 22, 1939.