George Cromwell Center located in Tompkinsville, Staten Island North Shore. (Photo Courtesy: SiLive)
Staten Island is currently hosting a state of the art indoor track and field facility named Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in South Beach. The original recreational center back in the day was the George Cromwell Center in Tompkinsville, Staten Island North Shore. Named after Staten Island's first Borough President who served from 1898 until 1913. He later was the primary developer of the Staten Island Dongan Hills community.
Pier 6 (which later supported the Center) was built in 1923; eleven years passed, and the federal Works Progress Administration converted the pier into the multi-use recreation center for one million dollars.
Opened in 1936, the George Cromwell Recreation Center soon came to play a vital role in Staten Island’s sports and recreational activities.
President Roosevelt hosted a gala ball, Fight Paralysis Fund Sports Night, in 1939. The following year, Sugar Ray Robinson fought his last amateur fight and defeated Gene Johnson. During World War II, the pier was used as a Naval base and dormitory for 450 sailors. In 1946, the pier was converted into a recreation center under the control of the city at the cost of $160,000. It was reopened in early January of 1949, by Mayor William O’Dwyer.
While serving as a recreational ground for many decades, the dock and center collapsed in May 2010 and was demolished in 2013. Since then, a community called "Let's Rebuild Cromwell Community Coalition," has been advocating "for a waterfront location to replace Cromwell as a new public recreation center serving local kids and young adults." (x)
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