10. Crocheron Park is named for a hotel owner who raced horses with Cornelius Vanderbilt

Crocheron Park
Crocheron Park on a sunny day.

Crocheron Park is a large park in Bayside at 214th Street and 35th Avenue which used to host marathons, New York Philharmonic concerts, and Revolutionary War reenactments. Named for the Crocheron family who was a wealthy family dating back in New York to the late 1600s, the park stands where notable structures owned by the family once stood. Along with Henry Crocheron, a member of Congress, other notable family members include Joseph Crocheron who owned the Crocheron House, which was open for nearly half a century. The hotel resembled an Italian villa and had a notable piazza facing Little Neck Bay. The hotel hosted seafood dinners and gained fame for its clambakes. Regulars at the hotel included none other than Boss Tweed, the notorious leader of Tammany Hall who actually hid at the hotel after his escape in 1875; legend has it that Tweed, who was fleeing a debtor’s prison, boarded a schooner to Cuba right outside the hotel.

Joseph Crocheron was also an experience horse racer, often racing alongside Cornelius Vanderbilt II and August Belmont. The Crocheron mansion nearby actually had a horse track in front that was written about by the New York Times. Corona Plaza stands roughly where the racetrack was once located. Fences across Crocheron Park pay homage to its namesake’s horse racing experience.

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