Riverside Park

Upper West Side Adjacent Hudson River

Riverside Park spans the Manhattan coastline along the Hudson River from 68th to 155th Street. Four miles long and an eighth of a mile wide, Riverside competes with the Hudson River Park for title to the narrowest regional park in New York City. R... more

Riverside Park spans the Manhattan coastline along the Hudson River from 68th to 155th Street. Four miles long and an eighth of a mile wide, Riverside competes with the Hudson River Park for title to the narrowest regional park in New York City. Riverside Park at Pier 1 (70th Street Pier) is host to many summer festivals including an outdoor film fesitval: Summer on the Hudson: Movies Under the Stars. The Riverside Park Fund describes how the "323 acres of land which now form the Park were undeveloped prior to the Hudson River Railroad, built in 1846 to connect New York City to Albany. The first proposal to convert the riverside precipice into a park was contained in a pamphlet written by William R. Martin, a parks commissioner, in 1865. Riverside Park was acquired and designed in several stages. In 1866, a bill introduced into the Legislature by commissioner Andrew Green was approved, and the first segment of park was acquired through condemnation in 1872. Frederick Law Olmsted prepared the conceptual plan for the new park and road, Riverside Drive. Subsequently, a series of designers set out to devise the new landscape, incorporating Olmsted's idea of a park with a tree-lin... more

Riverside Park spans the Manhattan coastline along the Hudson River from 68th to 155th Street. Four miles long and an eighth of a mile wide, Riverside competes with the Hudson River Park for title to the narrowest regional park in New York City.

Riverside Park at Pier 1 (70th Street Pier) is host to many summer festivals including an outdoor film fesitval: Summer on the Hudson: Movies Under the Stars.

The Riverside Park Fund describes how the "323 acres of land which now form the Park were undeveloped prior to the Hudson River Railroad, built in 1846 to connect New York City to Albany. The first proposal to convert the riverside precipice into a park was contained in a pamphlet written by William R. Martin, a parks commissioner, in 1865. Riverside Park was acquired and designed in several stages. In 1866, a bill introduced into the Legislature by commissioner Andrew Green was approved, and the first segment of park was acquired through condemnation in 1872. Frederick Law Olmsted prepared the conceptual plan for the new park and road, Riverside Drive. Subsequently, a series of designers set out to devise the new landscape, incorporating Olmsted's idea of a park with a tree-lined drive curving around the valleys and rock outcroppings and overlooking the river. From 1875 to 1910, architects and horticulturalists such as Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons laid out the stretch of park between 72nd and 125th Streets according to the English gardening ideal, creating the appearance that the Park was an extension of the Hudson River Valley.

With the beginning of the City Beautiful Movement in the early twentieth century, the landscape evolved. The Park began to serve as a repository for monuments and sculptures exalting the city's heroes, and its border was extended north to 155th Street. F. Stuart Williamson designed the extension with its decorative viaduct, castle-like retaining walls and grand entry ensembles. In 1937, during Robert Moses' administration, the Park underwent another growth phase, with the addition of 132 acres of land along the entire expanse of the Park. In planning the new area, landscape architect Gilmore D. Clarke and architect Clinton Loyd focused on the recreational needs of the city. After more than a half century of development, a park combining nineteenth and twentieth century landscape ideals was created. Its beauty was recognized in 1980, when the section from 72nd to 125th Street was designated a scenic landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Features

Nestled in this expanse of land between the Hudson and Riverside Drive are several distinct levels. Beginning with the Drive, the Park descends down the slope of the retaining wall into the landscaped park, finally reaching the active recreation area. Each of the levels has a distinct character and hosts specific activities. A canopy of majestic trees, one of North America's most significant remaining cultivated stands of American Elms, envelops Riverside Drive. This serpentine boulevard offers frequent opportunities for viewing the Hudson River Valley and lower park. The apartment-lined thoroughfare is separated from the next level by the retaining wall on which it is supported. The steep, sloping hills of the scenic park's upper promenade can be descended by steps, ramps and meandering walks. In the wintertime, a quicker route is often chosen, as the hills offer an ideal environment for sledding. With winding paths, rock outcrops and a naturalistic appearance, this landscaped level represents the most intact area of Olmstedian design within the Park. It is also host to five of the Park's fourteen playgrounds. From elephants and hippos shooting water to a sandbox surrounded by fantasy figures, the features of these facilities delight toddlers and older children alike.

The middle Promenade, the entranceway to the Park's lowest level and shoreline, was created when the tracks of the railroad were decked over in the 1930s. Strollers particularly enjoy the volunteer-maintained gardens at 83rd Street, The Garden People's plantings at 91st Street and the allée of sycamore and London Plane-trees from 101st to 110th Street. A community garden inside the Park at 138th Street delights those who discover it.

Pedestrians and cyclists enjoying the riverfront Esplanade can stop along its wooden railing for an unobstructed panorama of the Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades. The Cherry Walk, opened in 2000, extends along the river from 100th to 125th Street and is a harbinger of other Esplanade improvements to come.

From its southern end to its northern border, the Park offers something unique, whether it be a monument, viewing area, recreational facility or nature sanctuary. Fields and courts for handball, soccer, basketball and baseball are located throughout the Park. Pet owners enjoy three dog runs inside the Park at 72nd, 87th and 105th Streets. One of the most notable features of the Park is the north waterfront, located between 147th and 152nd Streets, where the open lawn extends to the shoreline. It is a popular starting point for a stroll to the nearby Little Red Lighthouse located in Fort Washington Park. The kayak launches at 148th Street and 79th Street provide the opportunity for New Yorkers to test out their sea legs. The densely forested area of the Park between 116th and 124th Streets is home to a bird sanctuary. Between 101st and 111th Streets is an active recreation area with basketball courts, an all-weather soccer field, playing fields, sand volleyball courts, and a Skate Park. A seasonal café can be found at 105th Street. There are asphalt tennis courts at 119th Street and clay surface courts at 96thStreet.

The 79th Street Marina is the only such public access facility in Manhattan. In addition to 105 slips for boats, it offers launch sites and moorings for kayaks, canoes and sailboats. The marina is also a frequent docking location of the Clearwater, the Hudson River sloop available for visits and educational activities. Adjacent to the marina is a rotunda with a tiled arcade, the venue for a variety of parties and special events and home to the seasonal West 79th Street Boat Basin Café."

Free Wi-Fi is available in this park.


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Upper West Side Description

Riverside Park is located in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan. The home of diverse cultural attractions, the Upper West side is sandwiched between Riverside Park to the west and Central Park to the east. Both parks are excellent leisurely green spaces to spend a day. Central Park is especially notable, as it is New York’s "flagship" park. With over 843 acres of land, it is home to 275 species of birds. It’s quite easy to spend an entire day there too, as the park has several restaurants on its perimeter, a Boathouse, a Carousel, ball fields, a running track, reservoir, sculptures of Alice in Wonderland and Shakespeare, and a nearly endless list of events and other attractions.

In addition to being the most densely populated area of the United States, the Upper West Side is the home of several academic institutions and a litany of famous people too numerous to list here. The American Museum of Natural History is among the most notable museum in the neighborhood. This world-famous museum is comprised of several different Halls, each dedicated to a particular theme. The museum's exhibition-halls house a stunning array of artifacts and specimens from all corners of the world and all historical periods including some magnificent dinosaur fossils. Other nearby cultural institutions worth checking out include the New York Historical Society, and the new Rose Center for Earth and Space which houses the Hayden Planetarium; the most technologically advanced Space Theater in existence.

The Upper West Side also contains some of the greatest venues to hear classical music. There is the Metropolitan Opera House —one of the world’s leading opera companies since its opening in 1883—as well asAvery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall and the renowned New York City Opera. Additionally both The Julliard School and Fordham University grace the area.

You’re bound to get hungry while visiting the neighborhood, but fear not -there are plenty of famous places to nosh or grab some classic New York smoked salmon in the Upper West Side. There’s Zabar’s—a heavenly deli if there ever was one; Fairway Market which has a huge, gourmet selection of just about everything; Citarella, with fresh fish and much more; and Murray’s Sturgeon Shop—just to name a few. If you're looking for a more substantial meal, head to Prohibition, an upscale restaurant and bar. The interior, which invokes the glamour and romance of the Prohibition-Era style of the twenties and early thirties, helps create terrific ambience. All of this has made Prohibition a mainstay on the Upper West Side. There's also the takeout booth at Carmine's. Carmine's simple and very popular concept is to serve every meal in the style of an Italian American wedding feast - which means large portions of homestyle antipasti, pastas, seafood and meat entrees served on large platters designed for sharing. And when we say large, we mean large; an entree here could easily feed three to four average eaters. After your weekend mid-day meal, take a walk back through Riverside Park or stroll down Riverside Drive and admire the impressive monuments, grand apartment buildings, and views of the Hudson River, all while burning off a few calories of course.

Given the number of attractions and cultural institutions in the neighborhood, the Upper West Side is an ideal location to spend your stay in New York. The charming Excelsior Hotel is located right near the Museum of Natural History and Central Park. Meanwhile, the cozy and reasonably priced Belnord Hotel is another conveniently located option for the budget conscious traveler, as is the Comfort Inn Central Park West.

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Upper West Side Adjacent Hudson River
New York, NY 10025
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