Rainey Park

Thomas Rainey (1824-1910) a resident of Ravenswood, Queens, was one of the main contributors to the bridge across the East River between Manhattan and Long Island City. Rainey spent 25 years and much of his fortune on this bridge. The project was initially highly favored by the community, but it lost momentum in the financial Panic of 1873. Due to this, the burden of organizing and refinancing the company fell on him, first as treasurer in 1874, then as president in 1877. However, the project once again lost steam in 1892 . After the consolidation of New York City in 1898, the project gained new momentum and the bridge was finally built at Queens Plaza, a few blocks south of the proposed location. On opening day in 1909, Rainey realized his dream as he crossed the new bridge with Governor Charles Evans Hughes. The new bridge entitled the "The Queensboro Bridge," fulfilled its promise by tying the Borough of Queens into Greater New York. For his efforts, Rainey received a gold medal inscribed “The Father of the Bridge.”

In 1904, the City of New York acquired several acres of waterfront property. The concrete “sea wall,” built where the park meets the East River, was completed in 1912, by which time Rainey had passed away. To honor his public spirit, the city named the property Rainey Park.


"Rainey Park," New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, accessed June 21, 2023, https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/rainey-park-q048

"Thomas Rainey (1824-1910)," Michael Brown Rare Books, accessed June 21, 2023, http://mbamericana.com/thomas-rainey-letter