Day 786

John T. Brush Stairway

February 23rd, 2014

Just over 100 years ago, the John T. Brush Stairway was dedicated in honor of a former owner of baseball's New York Giants. It provided passage from the top of Coogan's Bluff down to the Polo Grounds, where the Giants played. (As evidenced by this hilarious photo, Coogan’s Bluff was, according to the NY Times, "a sort of Tightwad Hill for local fans, a place where those unwilling or unable to pay the stadium’s entrance fee had a clear, if distant, view of the proceedings at no charge.")

After decades of deterioration, the stairway recently underwent a $950,000 reconstruction (here's a view from the bottom), although it's still off limits to the public. It was supposed to reopen about a year and a half ago, but I've learned that it's exceedingly rare for any construction project in New York to run on schedule, even something as seemingly simple as a staircase.

From what I can tell, the steel letters visible in the landing above ("THE JOHN T. BRUSH STAIRWAY PRESENTED BY THE NEW YORK GIANTS") are the only parts of the original stairway that were retained during the reconstruction. With the Polo Grounds itself long gone, these letters are quite possibly the last surviving physical link to the old ballpark.

One Comment

  1. Thomas says:

    I’m glad you got this. Your Polo Grounds home plate plaque got me reading up on the polo grounds and I actually googled these very stairs as part of that, following yet another link on wikipedia. For once, I was a half step ahead of you. For once. Probably the only time.

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