Union Square Park | Historic, Vibrant and… a Foodie Destination

by Denise Marie

This vibrant and historic urban park is the perfect place to people watch in New York City. Located at the intersection of Broadway and 4th Avenue, Union Square Park was the site of the first Labour Day parade in 1882. It also houses the flagship location of the popular Greenmarket Farmers Market, a state-of-the-art children’s playground and a majestic bronze sculpture of George Washington.

Things to Do at Union Square Park

From art vendors to street entertainers to the occasional protest, there are plenty of interesting things to do and see in Union Square Park. Friends can congregate by the James Fountain and kids can play at the 15,000 square-foot playground which features a mini-mountain and rubber-tiled floor to protect little knees from scrapes.

Union Square Park is a popular destination for foodies- it is home to the flagship location of the world-famous Greenmarket Farmers Market. Situated at the north end of the park, the Union Square Greenmarket attracts thousands of visitors all year round eager to shop for fresh, locally grown produce, heritage meats and artisan breads and cheeses.

Union Square Park is also a perfect place to relax and do nothing at all. There are lots of benches to perch and people watch or grassy spots to spread out a blanket and enjoy a picnic lunch.

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A Historic Public Space

Union Square Park opened in 1839 and quickly became a bustling town square and one of New York’s most popular public spaces to meet. Centrally located in Manhattan, Union Square was named for its location at the “union” of Bloomingdale and Bowery Roads which is known today as Broadway and 4th Avenue.

Union Square has a history of being a hub of political and social activism and was the site of many workers’ rallies in the 1930’s. It has served as a place for people to gather for political demonstrations, labor protests and community events.

A crowd of 10,000 workers gathered in Union Square for the first Labor Day parade on September 5th, 1882. Labor Day became a national holiday in 1884 and Union Square’s role in American labor history led to its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1997.

Statues in Union Square Park

Union Square Park is one of the most popular places for New York City locals to meet up at and one of the highlights of the park is its collection of majestic statues. They not only honor important historical figures, but they also are a great way to find someone – “meet me by Abraham Lincoln!” In addition to a statue of America’s 16th president, Union Square Park features sculptures of the Marquis de Lafayette (created by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue of Liberty) and Mohandas Gandhi.

Visitors should be sure to seek out the spectacular equestrian statue of the first president of the United States, George Washington. Located at the south end of the park, this bronze work is the oldest sculpture in the New York City Parks collection.

Where Is Union Square Park in New York City?

Union Square Park runs from East 14th Street to East 17th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway.

For more information on Union Square Park including maps of the area and directions call 212-New-York or visit Union Square Park official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with official website.

Riverside Park | Best Waterfront Views | NYC Gem

by Denise Marie

This gem of a park is home to the garden where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan meet at the end of the popular Hollywood movie “You’ve Got Mail.” Riverside Park in Manhattan offers beautiful views of the Hudson River and offers anyone wanting some respite from the hectic New York City streets a perfect spot to run, bike or take a peaceful stroll.

The Best Waterfront Views

Everyone talks about Central Park in New York City, but Riverside Park is pretty special too! In fact, it’s often where those in the know escape to in the hot summer season when Central Park is bursting with people. It stretches four miles along the Hudson River from 72nd to 158th Streets, offering spectacular waterfront views. This beautiful winding stretch makes it a favorite destination for runners and bicyclers.

A public marina, the 79th Street Boat Basin, features a launch for canoes, kayaks and sailboats and is located in the park at the foot of West 79th Street.

Designed by a Legend

Riverside Park is one of only eight official scenic landmarks in New York City. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same designer who planned Central Park and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Often referred to as the father of American landscape architecture, Olmsted envisioned public spaces like Riverside Park as idyllic areas set apart from the busy city that anyone could enjoy, regardless of income level.

Over the years, the park has undergone several expansions including the addition of seven acres of land in 2000 (Riverside Park South) that features basketball courts, a soccer field and a public pier that stretches out over the Hudson River.

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Things to do at Riverside Park

From dog runs to baseball diamonds, Riverside Park is simply bursting with great activities. Some highlights of the park include the Riverside Skate Park, which features five ramps with rails, half pipes and quarter pipes. The Skate Park is open from Thursday to Monday from May through October.

Riverside Park also features basketball, handball and tennis courts, two baseball fields, a beach volleyball area and three designated dog runs where dogs can play unleashed. And there are plenty of children’s playgrounds and eight spray showers throughout the park for your little ones to splash in when the weather heats up.

Notable Monuments

The eight-foot bronze and stone statue of human rights champion Eleanor Roosevelt (the first public statue of a First Lady in the U.S.) is located in Riverside Park at 72nd Street.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument at 89th Street and Riverside Drive is a must-see for civil war buffs. Made of marble and granite, this New York City landmark soars 96 feet high and also serves as a memorial site for all those who fought in later wars.

The General Grant National Memorial, known as Grant’s Tomb, is the largest mausoleum in America and the second largest in the Western Hemisphere. It is the final resting place of the 18th President of the United States, President Ulysses S. Grant (whose portrait is on the U.S. $50 bill) and his wife Julia Dent Grant. Located at 122nd Street, the site is open daily from 9a.m. to 5p.m. with free guided tours available.

Places to Eat in Riverside Park

The seasonal Boat Basin Café is located in Riverside Park at the end of 79th Street. This casual outdoor restaurant overlooks the marina and the Hudson River. Those dining at dusk will enjoy beautiful views of the sun setting over New Jersey.

The Hudson Beach Cafe is another eatery open in the summer months, located in Riverside Park at W. 105th Street. There are also several food carts to grab a bite at throughout the park.

Visiting Riverside Park in Manhattan

Riverside Park stretches from Riverside Drive to the Hudson River from West 59th Street to Clair Place. For a detailed map of the park and a complete list of its sites and attractions, visit the Riverside Park information page at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation website.

For more Riverside Park visitor information and a calendar of upcoming events taking place in the park, call 212-870-3070 or click here to visit the Riverside Park official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.

The New York Botanical Garden

by Denise Marie

New York Botanical Gardens is the epitome of nature’s beauty. This 250 acreage of year round natural terrain is one of New York’s mesmerized landmarks and landscapes. It is located at 200th Street and Kazimiroff Blvd. in Bronx, New York. More than 500,000 visitors visit the gardens yearly from all around the world.

The highlights featured at the Botanical Gardens are the 50 assorted plant collections and gardens, the current exhibitions, educational programs, research programs, and the sustainability of the horticulture.

History of the Gardens

Founded in 1891, the Botanical Gardens today is one of the most visited public gardens in the world ranking up there with the Royal Botanical Gardens of London. The land and acreage was originally acquired by the city to create the gardens and a zoo. When Botanical Gardens are created it was part of the Lorillard Estate which was owned by Pierre Lorillard. It was declared a national historic landmark in 1967.

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Gardens and Collections

The beautiful and diverse Native Plant Garden takes the spotlight with Northeastern North America native trees, ferns, wildflowers, and grass that flourish no matter the season.

Daylilies come in all shades of yellow, pink, orange, and red. There are 344 different types of these perennials that can be seen on the Daylily Walk showcase.

The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden is for all young explorers that are seeking the wonders of nature and science. This amazing world of masterminded mazes is a place for all kids to explore the larger than life flowers and hands on activities.

The Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden is where all imaginations and plants grow. This is where you can plant seeds, dig for dirt, play in the mud and learn all about your favorite foods from the other side of the globe.

The Forest is 50 acres of the largest discoveries of woodland. Walk the Native American trails while passing under trees that date back to the American Revolution.

Take a deep breath as you come upon the Nancy Bryan Luce Herb Garden. The glee produced by the fragrance and the imperial visions of the gray, green, white and purple foliage’s take you to the relaxing state of heaven.

Surround yourself with beauty, fragrance and color when you visit the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. This award winning garden features environmental cultivars that has been proven durability within the landscape.

Dominating the tropical venue is the Waterlilies and Lotuses Garden, symbolized by the world’s largest water lily, Victoria Amazonica. People have appreciated the resilience of these plants for many years for their magic and conservatory of eternal life. Lotuses and Water Lilies are displayed in blue, purple, pink and yellow.

Visiting The New York Botanical Garden

In all honesty it doesn’t matter which time of the year you visit the Botanical Garden. It mesmerizes all year round for visitors of all ages. The plant collections and gardens are just two reasons to visit. There are many special events going on each day as well as tours, programs and special activities for the whole family to enjoy.

The Garden is open year round and is closed on major holidays. The Garden and Visitor Center Cafés are open every day but Mondays. For detailed hours and other important information please visit The Botanical Garden website.