Before the Yankees were the Yankees, they were the Highlanders and before Yankee Stadium, the Yankees/Highlanders played in a series of other ballparks in Upper Manhattan. Many hardcore baseball fans will know that one of those stadiums was the Polo Grounds at 155th Street and 8th Avenue. Today, the Polo Grounds are no more, but a housing complex bearing their name exists in the plot of land once occupied by this sports stadium.
Before they played at the Polo Grounds, though, the Yankees (then called the Highlanders) played at another stadium nearby in the neighborhood. Known as Hilltop Park, this stadium was situated in the heart of Washington Heights, which was at the time still fairly rural, with the 1 train line not making it up to the neighborhood until 1915, one year after the park was demolished at 3 years after it's last professional baseball game.
Living in Washington Heights, I was curious to know if any evidence of the park still remained - if there was anything in that panoramic picture from 1910 (108 years ago!) that was still around today.
The ground the park sat on is now the site of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, so suffice it to say there's little left of the structure, although there is a small plaque on the hospital's campus marking the former site of home plate.
But are there any other remaining connections to that panoramic picture? I took a closer look and noticed something interesting...
The building near right-center field looked familiar, had I seen it before?
Not only had I seen that building before, it was still standing! The large commercial/residential apartment complex comprising the addresses of 601 to 607 W 168th Street sits across the street from the hospital. Knowing this, I could get a better sense of orientation in that panoramic shot of Hilltop Park.
Knowing a bit more about how the park was actually situated on the plot of land that is currently NYPH, I was also able to roughly situate home plate and the bases.
Based on the panoramic image, it's obvious the apartment buildings at 601-607 date back to at least 1910. I tried to check a few NYC data sources to get a more exact construction date, but no luck. It's still cool to be able to trace this building's history back to a time when you could watch the Yankees-to-be from an upper-floor apartment. Wouldn't it be great to still have a stadium so close?