Forgotten Westchester: Central Park Avenue

26 Sep, 2013

By Loop Contributor

Central Park Avenue

Ever wonder how this strip mall sprawl came to be named for Central Park?

Extending northward from Yonkers’ Southern border into White Plains is a main artery called Central Park Avenue, which goes by the designation NY-100. Curiously, Central Park Avenue is nowhere near Central Park in Manhattan, and there appears to be no obvious reason for it to hold this name. However, it is no accident that Central Park Avenue carries the name of a seemingly distant New York City park.

When Central Park Avenue crosses into the Bronx, it becomes Jerome Avenue. In the nineteenth century, Jerome Avenue was also known as Central Park Avenue. Central Park Avenue, therefore, once ran from White Plains to the Macombs Dam Bridge at the Harlem River into Manhattan (one can still follow this same route to Manhattan today).

In the nineteenth century, the Macomb’s Dam Bridge was known as the Central Bridge (referring to its central position at the midpoint between the Kings Bridge [near today’s Broadway Bridge] at the far northwest of Manhattan and the Harlem Bridge [today known as the Third Avenue Bridge] at the far northeast of Manhattan). After transversing the Central Bridge, Central Park Avenue turned into Seventh (since 1887, Lenox) Avenue, which ends at the northern side of Central Park.

Hence the name.

–Submitted by Jesse Kling
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  • RuthMendes

    Back in the late ’40s, I went to day camp at Robin Hill Day Camp on Gunhill Road, then a bucolic road off of Central Park Avenue with Schmidt’s Farm as the only commercial entity. Central Park Avenue was ALL green with a veterinary clinic marked by a statue of a German shepherd dog. Much further down was Patricia Murphy’s with its flamingos. Cross Country Shopping Center was contemplated, but not yet built (on a landfill.) My last year at camp saw the first clearing for a housing development. It was the end of Central Park Avenue as a swath of green and certainly the end of the “Park.”.

  • Peg Cozzi

    The story I heard was that in the late 1800’s when Central Park Avenue in the Bronx was paved it was to be named after an official in NYC. Here is a factoid from Wikipedia:
    “The street was to be renamed after an unknown city alderman.[2] Kate Hall Jerome, wife of Leonard Jerome, was furious, replacing all the signs with the name Jerome Avenue in honor of Jerome Park Racetrack opened by her financier husband in 1866.”

    The anecdote I heard was that the Jeromes hired a crew of thugs to go out one night and replace all the offensive signs with Jerome Avenue. The next day the fact was evident and has remained.
    These are the same Jeromes whose daughter, Jenny, became Winston Churchill’s mother a story alluded to on PBS in “Downton Abbey”.

  • Jane

    Very interesting article and comments.
    Central Avenue was also home to “Adventurer’s Inn,” a favorite emporium with kiddy rides that was a family destination. It morphed into Nathan’s in recent years, and finally was razed recently, but not before a reunion took place of people who had hung out there when younger. There is a portion of “The Flamingo Kid” that is filmed there.
    Those of us who grew up in Yonkers always called it just “Central Avenue.”