BY MADELINE NELSON
New signs bearing the image of Jackie Robinson — who broke baseball’s color barrier 71 years ago with the Brooklyn Dodgers — now line the parkway named for him between Queens and Brooklyn.
Mayor Bill de Blasio formally announced the new signage, along with a new Vision Zero campaign involving the New York Mets, on April 12.
“With baseball season now in full swing, no one should ever forget the history that Jackie Robinson made at Ebbets Field more than 70 years ago,” said de Blasio. “It is so appropriate that the parkway that bears his name — a road that Mets fans in Brooklyn now take directly to Citi Field — should finally honor the man with his likeness.”
City officials unveiled the new signs as the Mets and all other Major League Baseball teams prepare to celebrate Jackie Robinson this Sunday, the anniversary of his first game at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, which took place on April 15, 1947.
Opened in 1935, the Jackie Robinson Parkway, originally known as the Interboro Parkway, serves as a 4.95-mile winding road that connects Brooklyn and Queens. The road was renamed for Robinson in 1997 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Robinson breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier.
During his time with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson and his family lived in Brooklyn and Queens before relocating to Connecticut. After his retirement in 1958, he became a successful businessman while continuing to campaign for civil rights. Following his death in 1972, Robinson was laid to rest at Cypress Hills Cemetery, near the parkway that would ultimately be named for him.
Approximately 25 new signs have been installed so far this April by NYC DOT, both along the Parkway and at entrance ramps. These signs are the first in a series of new clear and aesthetically pleasing signs being installed on city parkways and other roads.
“After a long winter, what better way to celebrate spring and the start of baseball season than to honor the man who literally transformed the game 71 years ago this month,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “I thank the Robinson family for helping us honor Jackie Robinson in the way he so richly deserves.”
The city will also continue its high-impact Vision Zero public awareness campaign, “Signs,” with outdoor, television and radio advertisements this spring. Vision Zero will partner with the Mets during the 2018 season in order to connect with fans attending games.
Marketing at Citi Field will include 30-second pre-game ads on Citi Vision, on-field screen displays, and in-game PSAs featuring Mets players Jay Bruce, T.J. Rivera and Michael Conforto. Vision Zero messaging will be on over 500,000 parking receipts issued at Citi Field events.
“On the baseball field and at the very vanguard and grassroots of the Civil Rights Movement, Jackie Robinson was both a leader and team player of the highest quality,” said state Senator Leroy Comrie. “It’s good to know that the Parkway named in his honor will be revitalized to serve the public more effectively by including additional Vision Zero components in concert with participation by our Amazin’ Mets in effort to keep everyone traveling to the ballpark safe, secure and well.”