With Public Works ready to grade in time for the Thanksgiving games, Al Cappio, gung-ho new Recreation Commissioner, has already consulted County Parks engineer, Frank Loede, who's already called in experts who've done past work for the County-none other than the Olmsted Brothers of Brookline, Mass. These are the world-famous landscape designers of New York's Central Park. Nobody quarrels with the Olmsteds-and the Olmsteds say it can be done!
But it's 1930, and already a year since the infamous Stock Market crash that started the long, dizzy spiral into worldwide economic disaster called the Great Depression. Paterson factories have begun to lay off workers; here and everywhere the time-bomb of financial collapse is ticking.
This is when Mayor Hinchliffe proves himself the kind of hero who deserves to have his name writ large on a big wall. Within a few weeks he's sold the idea of a state-of-the-art "recreational facility" to the reluctant dragons of the Finance Board and the Taxpayers Association. He knows, he says, that-together, and with the will to do it-we can make it a "paying investment."
And then he sells the idea to the people-harder now than it was two years earlier. But Paterson's struggling citizens are heroes too: they take the risk, committing themselves to a bond issue of $200,000, an immense sum by any yardstick. Within weeks the field is prepped and ready for the big game. Twelve thousand people turn out, "disregarding zero weather," remarks one shivering newsman, who describes the Paterson crowd as "the biggest .ever assembled at an athletic event in this city!" and bangs out the word to readers of the New York Herald. The caption under a local Evening News photo is swaggering: "Who said Patersonians don't want a stadium?"
Clear as sunlight on the up-river, the vision they'd called only a "dream among the youth of Paterson" was now a glimmering reality waiting to happen.