Tony Capobianco Field, New York, NY
Tony Capobianco Field, New York, NY

New York,


United States

Tony Capobianco Field

Located at the terminus of the Roosevelt Island Bridge, this park on the banks of the East River comprises athletic facilities, a playground, and mature trees while providing dramatic views of Queens. In 1969 the New York State Urban Development Corporation (UDC) signed a 99-year lease for the entire island, which formerly housed medical and penitentiary facilities.  A development plan dictated the conversion of the island into a residential community divided into Northtown and Southtown and separated by Blackwell Park. Northtown was the first to be developed and, by 1977, included infrastructure, an aerial tramway to Manhattan, and a 2,141-unit housing development. 

In 1976 Nicholas Quennell Associates was commissioned to design an active park to the north of the residential community. Enveloped by Main Street, the housing block, the East River, and a spiraling ramp that leads to the elevated Roosevelt Island Bridge, the park included playfields, ball courts, and an open lawn. Groves of mature trees buffer the park on three sides and enclose the ball courts. The eastern edge remains open to the river, with tree plantings spaced about twenty feet apart to provide dappled shade along a promenade extending the length of Northtown. Large-diameter tubing painted red was used to create the baseball backstop, serving as an artistic focal element while framing views of Queens.  In the mid-2000s, the park was renamed for Tony Capobianco,  a resident who coached little-league teams in Northtown.  At this time, a small playground was added near the ball courts, named for another popular resident, Grandpa Al Lewis, who died in 2006.

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