Riverside Park | Best Waterfront Views | NYC Gem

by NYJ Team

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.

Riverside Park

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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.

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.

Central Park: The Heart of New York City

by NYJ Team

Central Park may be one of the most beautiful urban parks in the world today; however it began not as an untouched natural wonder, but as an idea.  With its sparkling ponds, towering trees and wide open green spaces, it is tempting to think that the city of New York grew up around Central Park.  In fact, the opposite is true.

The History of Central Park
In the early 1800s, the population of New York exploded, quadrupling in size.  With people crowding into tenement housing, there were few open spaced left in the city, and the only escape from the crowd and the noise were New York’s cemeteries.

New York’s poets and thinkers began the call for a public park by the middle of the century, looking for inspiration from London’s parks and the Bois de Boulogne in Paris.  So a plan was put in place to clear existing buildings, small farms and homesteads to build the 850 acres of accessible parkland.  Today, when you visit, take a moment to appreciate that every tree, flower, path and river was designed and placed here for the enjoyment of the people.

Click for more details on Central Park

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Highlights of Central Park
There are many different ways to enjoy a day in Central Park.  Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch and spread out on the Great Lawn.  Bring a pair of binoculars and watch for warblers in The Ramble in the spring or fall.  Rent a rowboat at the Loeb Boathouse and spend a romantic hour paddling on The Lake.   Tour the park in comfort in a horse carriage or a Pedicab.  If you are visiting New York in the winter, rent skates at Wollman or Lasker Rink and spend some fresh hours enjoying the outdoors.

Visiting Central Park with the Kids
For anyone visiting New York with young children, the southeast corner of Central Park is a must. That is where you will find the small but fascinating Central Park Zoo, which is home to seals polar bears and river otters.  From there, it is a short walk to the historic Central Park Carousel, built in 19080 and moved here from Coney Island in 1951. The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre stages wonderful puppet shows several times a day, all year round.  If that isn’t enough, Central Park is home to 21 playgrounds.  The oldest and the largest is Heckscher Playground, which covers more than three acres of land with slides, climbing rocks and a water feature.

Summer Entertainment
Central Park has played host to some of New York’s biggest and best concerts, featuring artists such as Simon and Garfunkel, Barbra Streisand and Garth Brooks.  Even if there isn’t a world class concert on the schedule, there are many opportunities for music, dance or theatre in Central Park.  The New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan opera perform open-air concerts in the park every summer, as does the New York Shakespeare Festival.  The Central Park Summerstage also puts on a number of free performances all summer long, which could be dance, music or film.  Even on the quietest summer afternoon, there will be talented buskers with guitars or instruments, putting on a show for the crowds.

A Memorial to John Lennon
John Lennon lived at the Dakota Apartments, looking over Central Park on the Upper West Side.  Across the street from the Dakota lies the memorial to his life, known as Strawberry Fields.  It covers two acres of sculpted garden, with a grey marble mosaic of the word “Imagine” at its heart.  Like the rest of Central Park it is a surprising and beautiful addition to any visit to New York City.

The High Line | Spectacular Views of the City

by NYJ Team

The High Line is a park located in NYC that was transformed from an abandoned railroad to a mile and a half long flora landscape in 2009. The park runs from Gansevoort St to West 34th on the West Side of Manhattan and is the newest way of seeing all of New York City from one view. The High Line was in operation from the 1930’s until 1980 carrying agricultural goods and meat to the meat packing district of the West Side to the Post Office.

It is owned today by the City of New York and is regulated by the Department of Parks and Recreation. You can take a long walk above the busy street of Manhattan admiring the beautiful views or you can sit and relax while experiencing the scenes of the city.

History of the Park
Back in the 1840’s the City of New York agreed to the construction of street level railroad tracks for Manhattan’s West Side. It was named Death Avenue due to the many accidents that took place between traffic and the trains. The tracks were then elevated to decrease the accidents while delivering goods to the industrial district. It was in 1980 when the last train would travel the High Line carrying frozen goods.

The High Line faced demolition a few years later with property owners demanding the deconstruction of the tracks. In 1999 Friends of the High Line, a non-profit organization convinced the government the importance of the High Line to turn it into a park. FHL in 2004 together with the City of New York created a design team holding a 6 month competition to design the layout of the park.The recreation of turning the railway into the urban park has increased real estate development with lining neighborhoods that run along the High Line.

The High Line Today
It doesn’t matter what season it is when you visit the park. The view is spectacular in every way with for tourists and natives to take a long stroll or just sit and admire the scenery of the Hudson River, Empire State Building and the beautifully landscaped flowers. Nature on The High Line is a talking and walking tour you can take with a gardener giving you the chance to get an insider’s view at the design of the park.

Every week in the park you can gaze into the dark skies and take a look at the moon, planets and stars with high tech telescopes and even chat with a few members of the Amateur Astronomers Association. Other weekly events and other happenings are scheduled all year round. Visit the website to access the detailed events calendar.

Visiting the High Line
The park is open daily and can be accessed from 14th, 16th, 18th, 20th and Gansevoort Streets. There are elevators and bike rack access points located on all streets except 14th. The High Line can be reached by subway and bus. You can visit the parks website for upcoming events and to print out a detailed map of the park. Click here to read more on The High Line.

The High Line