Metropolitan Park

From BR Bullpen

Metropolitan Park was the home of the New York Metropolitans of the American Association during their pennant-winning 1884 season. They had shared the first edition of the Polo Grounds with the National League's New York Gothams in 1883, an arrangement facilitated by the fact that John Day owned both clubs.

The ballpark was quickly and shoddily built and was hated by players, fans and sportswriters alike, even though the team was very successful there. As a result, it was abandoned before the season was over. It was erected on a lot by the Harlem River in East Harlem, at the intersection of First Avenue and 109th Street. This was not a very desirable part of the city at the time, as it was a low-income neighborhood whose population was largely made up of immigrants. Seating capacity was around 5,000.

The ballpark opened on May 13th, after the Metropolitans had started the season with a long road trip - perhaps anticipating construction delays which did not fail to materialize. Fans complained about the smells rising from the field, which was on a former landfill, with smoke from nearby factories also wafting in and contributing to the unpleasantness. All of this contributed to low attendance, in spite of the home team playing very well. In June, the team decided to move back to the Polo Grounds, only using Metropolitan Park on days when the Gothams already had a game scheduled there (the previous season, when this had occurred,the two teams had played simultaneously, with a flimsy canvas fence demarcating the two outfield areas - a most unsatisfactory arrangement).

After the season, the Metropolitans were sold to railroad entrepreneur Erastus Wiman and relocated to the borough of Staten Island, NY. Metropolitan Park served as the ballpark for the New York Fire Department's ball team in 1885 and 1886 and was dismantled shortly after that.

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