One of the largest parks in Scarsdale is scarcely on anyone's mind -- George Field Park. Unlike most other Scarsdale parks, you do not come here for sports or any purpose, other than to take in a quietly majestic scene. George Field Park does in fact have a large field, but one meant for a very different purpose than other parks in Scarsdale.
When I first heard of this park, I thought "Field" referred to an actual field, which wasn't a stretch since this park actually holds a large field. In fact, the park is named after an illustrious participant in Scarsdale’s history, Mr. George Willis Field. A lawyer, Mr. Field at one time was director of the Scarsdale Improvement Corporation, the company that built downtown Scarsdale. He served as Village president, a trustee, president of the old Town Club (now the Scarsdale Forum) and also served on the Planning Commission. If you happen to pass by 120 Broadway in New York City, take note: the law offices of Platt & Field were once located there.
George Field Park was established in 1928 on 10 acres of land, paid for 30% by the Village and 70% by neighboring homeowners, during a few years at the end of the 1920s when Scarsdale was making its great wave of investments in parks. It is unclear what sports ever were played at the park; if the reader should be aware of any that were, contact me and I will gladly update this. Perhaps ice skating?
In 2009, with the completion of Scarsdale’s Comprehensive Storm Water Management Plan, George Field Park assumed a vanguard role in alleviating the Village’s perennial flooding problems. Plans called for converting the park into a massive “Dry Detention Basin” capable of holding 2.3 million gallons of flood water.
To accomplish this, George Field park was transformed, with a wetland added to improve incoming water quality, woodlands removed and the field itself deepened in order to hold flood waters.
Here is an aerial image of George Field Park from 2011 just before the project began, taken in the summer.
And here is another aerial taken several years after the project’s completion. Note the addition of a wetland in the north of the field with meandering stream, the removal of woods in the park’s center, and the lowering of the expanded field to form a detention basin. This was taken in the winter.
Was the project successful? After a rain storm of “biblical proportions” hit in the spring of 2014, Scarsdale10583.com declared, “The retention basin at George Field Park Thursday morning: It worked!"
Venture forth and you will find that George Field Park serves another role. The park is a contemplative respite right in the center of our Village. Entering from Greendale or Post Road, head towards the bridge in the center of the park. As you do, everything becomes quieter. And yes, there is life. On any given day, the stream in the center of the field often is home to a brood of ducklings.
And as for our illustrious past citizen, Mr. George Field? He passed away in 1929, a year after his eponymous park was established. Mr. Field lays in a different field, back in his native town of Worcester, Massachusetts.
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"...built downtown Scarsdale." A Sort of Utopia, page 39
"...on the Planning Commission." A Sort of Utopia, page 225
"...were once located there" Yale Alumni Weekly, Volume 31, page 280
Both aerial images were obtained from Westchester County GIS.
"...Thursday morning: It worked!" “Village is soaked but spared, after storm”, May 2, 2014, scarsdale10583.com
More information on sources:
"A Sort of Utopia, Scarsdale, 1891-1981" by Carol A. O'Connor, State University of New York Press, 1983
All other images, Copyright Jennifer Fischman (2018)