At its peak, the Lion Brewery occupied approximately six square city blocks in Manhattan's Upper West Side. At the time, the area was occupied by inexpensive land housing, public institutions, and an insane asylum. About five to ten thousand individuals were living in shanties after being displaced by the creation of Central Park in 1859.
In 1862, a $1.00 tax on each barrel of beer hurt small brewers, but not the sizable Lion Brewery. The anti-saloon movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century encouraged Lion Brewery to clean up its own saloons. However, the brewery was caught up in a wave of mergers and closings among the smaller New York brewers in the early 1940s which continued until 1941, when the business closed. The brewery (including the canning facilities) was auctioned off on August 26, 1943. The plant was demolished in 1944 and more than 3,000 tons of steel were taken from the original brewery structure and recycled for the war effort.
After the brewery was demolished the lot was paved over with cinders. After the war, returning WWII Veterans formed a softball league and played Sunday afternoons on a homemade field located on the site. Home plate was placed near 107th Street and Columbus Avenue.