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Van Cortlandt Park South

August 18, 2006 pm31 2:52 pm

Looking Down Sedgwickimg_1991.JPGAs you snake down Van Cortlandt Avenue West to the Major Deegan entrance, there is a red building to your right
If you look back as you make the turn onto the northbound ramp, at the corner of the building are some stairs. What are they, and where do they go?

Four flights of eleven steps, with short landings: Lower VCPS step street

The stairs, and this entry, continue. Click —->

Middle of VCPS step street, looking upVCPS step street, looking downFollowed by four more flights of eleven, with broad landings:

<– Looking up
Looking down –>

The steps open up onto an amazing, shaded street, with Van Cortlandt Park’s fringe on the left (north)VCP fence, on VCPS

and with tudor buildings on the right (south) Amalgamated at Hillman Amalgamated at Gouvernor

This is Van Cortlandt Park South, and those are the “Amalgamated Houses.” Opened in the 1920’s, these are moderate income co-ops.

As I understand it, and I may not get it 100%, you put your name on a list. When you get called, you ‘buy’ your apartment. The price is set, and quite modest. After that you pay maintenance (also modest). When you move out, you sell back to the organization at the same price you bought. What a deal! And the interiors are gorgeous. The courtyards are even more tranquil than the street.

They added two towers later. The upper floors command some of the finest views in the Bronx.

For more information and great photos, go to Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, the Bronx.

Horse Rider at Gun Hill

After five shady blocks, Van Cortlandt Park South ends in large planted/tree-y traffic quadrangles, where Sedgwick, Gun Hill Road, Goulden Avenue, and the entrance/exit to Mosholu Parkway Converge. DeWitt Clinton High School is opposite, across from the northern reach of the Jerome Park Reservoir.

Path into VCPA path leads into
Van Cortlandt Park




VCPS Street Sign

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Tina Vozick permalink
    November 19, 2006 am30 1:19 am 1:19 am

    Great to stumble across this – you have photographed my ancestral home, 88 stairs and all (which number I remember from the hundreds of times we counted them). At the top, on the left was the “Big Rock”, not to be confused with the “Little Rock” up in the park across from Hillman Avenue. Tanks for posting these pics.
    Tina Vozick

    • Paul Baker permalink
      February 14, 2013 pm28 8:56 pm 8:56 pm

      My mother Ceil Baker was friends with your mother Ida. I lived first in 7M1, between Section A & B. When i was 11, in 1944, we moved to the 1st Building, section N apartment 11. I remember camp and Jack’s Bus Service to get to the subways. The Twin Pines Camp in the summer and swimming at Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers. Sledding down dead man’s hill, which ended right at the fence.. It was a great experience living at that time. Everything was easy going. Maybe because we were kids and didn’t know any better

  2. jammy permalink
    October 8, 2008 pm31 4:18 pm 4:18 pm

    damn yo mii home town luvin thiz fuxcn place… its da shiitzss

  3. brenda tepper permalink
    June 1, 2011 pm30 9:34 pm 9:34 pm

    i moved to the amalgamated houses in 1940 when i was just several months old…I recall it as a wonderful, warm community…we had a recital hall, acting classes, concerts, our own orchestra, day camp…it was a wonderful place to grow up..I felt like i knew everyone in the community…during the early years, there were only several tudor style buildings and many open lots to play in as well as van cortlandt park itself across the street. we would bike ride to the van cortlandt mansion, to holly”s lane ( a picnic area), through the park to Yonkers and Riverdale, to the stables and field. During the winters we would sneak in to the golf course and sled on “dead man’s hill”, go ice skating at the lake. I recall seeing a number of Hobo camps early on in the park…This was all before the Major Deegan Highway was built.

    I lived in the 7th building, section A and that was where the offices were located..I would regularly bump into Kazin, Liebman and others.

  4. Carol Berman permalink
    June 2, 2011 am30 11:46 am 11:46 am

    The steps led up to 130 Gale Place. I’ve walked them many times. My grandparents lived in that building. It was a great neighborhood to grow up in. I lived across the street from the park and my friends who lived on Orloff would call me to find out who was in the park. It was nice because everyone hung out there so you didn’t have to look very far to know where all the cool kids were. I miss the paddleball courts. You don’t find too many of them in NJ! I lived in the 7th building.

  5. Marc Solomon permalink
    March 25, 2012 pm31 11:27 pm 11:27 pm

    My first apartment after leaving home was a studio with a terrace at 130 Gale. I took those steps all the time to get to and from the 1 train to get to work. Always felt great on the way home when i reached the top of the steps. Remembered going to the “Solarium” and “Rock Garden”. Still love going back through the old neighbs- it will always feel like “home”

  6. February 14, 2013 pm28 11:09 pm 11:09 pm

    As a Newbie, I am continuously searching online for articles that can

    help me. Thank you

    • Paul Baker permalink
      February 15, 2013 am28 11:21 am 11:21 am

      Thanks for giving me the opportunity to reminisce. The “Big Red” building is the boiler system for the whole CO-OP. It also houses parking garages. Now for the stairs. They go from VanCortlandt Ave. West, up to 100 VanCortlandt Park South and 120 to 130 Giles Place.When they were building 120-130 Gale Place, my friends and I would jump into the abyss, which was the excavation for the buildings and swing on the roots of the trees that used to be there. It was really amazing to live there in that era. Everyone knew everybody. There were no secrets. It started just before the Big Depression and made it though big time. When I lived in the 7th building, 7M1, my brother and I would make ma racket in the one bedroom. The CO-OP offices were in Section A. Mr. Shalin used to tell my mother to keep the boys quiet. I’m sorry if I going overboard, but those were the days, an I’ll never forget the great times we had.

  7. February 14, 2013 pm28 11:16 pm 11:16 pm

    Somebody essentially help to make seriously posts I would state.
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  8. Anthony E. Rutkowski permalink
    May 20, 2013 pm31 5:02 pm 5:02 pm

    How can I get a photo of the once beautiful fountain and surrounding flowers that once graced the area near the Van Cortlandt Mansion in the 1940’s

  9. February 12, 2015 am28 2:48 am 2:48 am

    I lived in 130 Gale Place and have many photos around he building and neighborhood from childhood in the 50s/60s to my children’s childhood in the 90s and on as we revisited the grandfolks until their deaths these past days and year. Thanks for this.

  10. M. Paul baker permalink
    December 28, 2015 pm31 12:16 pm 12:16 pm

    I’ve been reminicing in my mind about growing up in the Amalgamated Houses. Everyone knew everyone. To illustrate what I mean, when I was 5 years old,, that was 1938, we lived in 7M1. My great aunt Sally Kantor lived in the first building. Relatives from Brazil came to visit the Kantor’s. My mom and dad wanted to see them but couldn’t get a baby sitter, so after putting my brother and me to sleep they doiuble locked the door and went to visit. Of course as children do, we awoke to find the parents gone. I knew where they were going so I told my brother Bob, who was 2 yrs old to stay in the house. Since i couldn’t get out through the front door, I opened the living room window and climbed down the side of the building. I made my way to Van Cortlandt park South and headed to the 1st building. On the way a man stopped me and asked “where are you going”, I said “to Aunt Sally’s house”. He picked me up and delivered me to Aunt Sally. His name was Moe Mandel and he lived in building 6.
    It was very embarrasing when I was taking History and Eco combined at DeWitt Clinton HS, who was my teacher? Non other than Moe Mandel!! It was a great time growing up in the Amalgamated Houses during the 40’s and 50’s.

  11. Trudy Wodinsky permalink
    August 28, 2017 am31 2:57 am 2:57 am

    What great stories these are! I lived at 120 Gale Place until 1955 when my family moved to Long Island. We had a nice split level house and my mom grew a beautiful garden, but part of me remained in that neighborhood and I’m sorry I didn’t get to finish my growing up here. Now I live in Manhattan with my adult autistic son. I always try to find something nice to do on a Sunday and I’ve always wanted to make a pilgrimage back to see the old building and Van Cortlandt Park, so we took the train up to 242nd Street and walked over and up all those many steps. How beautiful it still looks! Smaller and cozier than I’d remembered! We went into the vestibule at 120 but of course, you can’t go in and out freely like the old days when it was kept unlocked. Different times they were! But then we walked all over, by the old supermarket which my folks, who are both now gone, used to call the co-op. We walked over to PS 95 and around by Van Cortlandt Park South. Couldn’t get in to see the old big rock that Tina Vozick spoke of. The path seems to curve a different way — to the right, rather than straight ahead. Maybe there’s another way to get in, I dunno. But my son and I had a beautiful day and I thought my folks did a good job of finding such a beautiful place for us. Sorry we had to leave way back then, and today. Actually yesterday. It’s already Monday!

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