Saturday, January 06, 2007

Martin F. Tanahey Park

I don't really remember Tanahey Park having a name. I just remember playing in the park. The historical sign for Tanahey is missing, so I got this from the nycparks site. Looks like Tanahey was a Tammany pol who had a park named after him without any special accomplishment like Joseph Coleman.
"Located between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, this playground was named for local civic and political leader Martin F. Tanahey (1874-1930). Born and raised in this Lower East Side neighborhood, Tanahey held various public offices over 22 years. He served as chief clerk in the Labor Department of the State of New York and later became assistant appraiser of the Port of New York, the busiest port in the world for the first half of the 20th century. He also was an assistant government appraiser in President Woodrow Wilson's administration. In 1922, Tanahey was elected to the Board of Alderman from District 1, which includes the Lower East Side, and remained an alderman the rest of his life. Tanahey was a chief lieutenant of Democratic Party leader Thomas F. Foley (1852-1925), a saloonkeeper and politician associated with Tammany Hall for whom nearby Foley Square is named. Martin F. Tanahey died of pneumonia at his home at 177 Cherry Street in 1930.
The land occupied by this playground was acquired by condemnation for park purposes on October 17, 1949. The park opened on October 11, 1952, and was named Martin F. Tanahey Playground by local law. When built, the playground was divided into separate sections. The sides facing Market and Catherine Slips were originally constructed as sitting areas with chess and checker tables, while the center section was reserved for active recreation, with spaces for basketball, volleyball, paddle tennis, shuffle board, and horseshoe pitching."
BTW, here's Tanahey in the 1920 census, living at 177 Cherry Street as an "appraiser"

Here's, Joseph Coleman's family in 1920. The parks' sign said he was living at Madison St, here he was on Catherine Street and his father was a foreman for the police department.


Anonymous said...

How did the "blog author" come to the conclusion that a person who died in 1930 at a relatively young age did not contribute anything of value to his community or to those he served? He obviously was not available to have any influence over the naming of the Tanahey park in his honor.

FYI he was a most honorable man who worked hard for his family and neighbors whom he represented.

It seems petty for you to disparage him for your own purposes.

Sol Bellel said...

I didn't mean to disparage Martin Tanahey. I'm sure he was an honorable man. However there were many honorable people who parks are not named after. I've not found any information that leads me to believe he did anything remarkable as compared to Joseph Coleman.

Anonymous said...

Martin F Tanahey was my great grandfather and he did quite a bit for the community, as did his son who was a police officer. Maybe you should do a little more research.