James J. Braddock Park

Rene Hidalgo

The James J. Braddock Park is located in the north part of North Bergen. It is bordered by Bergenline Ave., 79th.Street, Boulevard East, and Woodcliff Ave. The park was named on behalf of a North Bergen resident who won the heavy weight world title in 1935. Also known as “The Cinderella Man”, Braddock, along with his family, was living through the Great Depression. The night of the fight, Braddock stepped in the ring with a 10 to 1 chance of winning. Braddock’s victory represented hope, to escape poverty that was far away from being a dream but not far from attainable.

What struck me about the monument was the size of the park in relation to the city. A park of such magnitude could have been used for housing purposes in a small and rapidly growing city. Even though Braddock accomplished something no other resident has been able to accomplish, the area residents have been very protective of the park. Since the renaming of the park, there has not been any other change to the park, despite the many proposals of politicians to alter the park.



About urba0090

is an ACLS New Faculty Fellow in the American Studies and History departments at Rutgers University.
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