Riverside Park, NYC
Riverside Park is a four-mile-long green space that winds along the Hudson River from 62nd to 158th Streets in Manhattan. The land here was originally part of the Hudson River Railroad. An 1866 measure by the New York State Legislature provided for conversion to a park. Frederick Law Olmstead, one of the creators of Central Park, prepared a design plan in 1875, after the first land purchase in 1872. This design was refined through 1910.
The original park acreage extended to 125th Street only. In 1937, the Parks Commission, under the guidance of Robert Moses, added another 132 acres. In 1980, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designed the original section a Scenic Landmark. Riverside Park is now approximately 300 total acres; plans to expand southward are in the works.
A 1984 “Conceptual Master Plan,” proposed by the NYC Parks Department, began the work of revitalizing Riverside Park after some decades of decline. The Riverside Park Fund, a neighborhood coalition of park lovers assembled in 1986, joined the Parks Department to aid that restoration through fund-raising, clean-up and safety programs, and user surveys.
The Fund now has an annual budget of $2.2 million and continues to create community outreach programs, such as the 97th St. Tennis Association, and raise funds from private donors while working with the Parks Department, which oversees long-range park planning, capital improvements, maintenance, and budget management.
Just strolling along the Hudson is a pleasure enough in itself, but there are dozens of significant attractions and sites here. Grant’s Tomb, resting place of Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia, was completed in 1892 at the top of the park. Just south of Grant’s Tomb, a skateboarding facility was installed in 1995. River Run Playground, mid-way through, is a classic New York City parks playground, and just below that, at 79th St., are the celebrated Boat Basin (the only free public boating access in the city, with 105 slips), and the Boat Basin Café. Ballfields can be found at 103rd and 107th Streets.