HistoryIn the middle of the 19th century, railroad tracks ran through most of Manhattan's eastern banks along the Hudson River. The rapid urbanization of New York City inspired politicians and influential citizens to propose the development of parks. In the 1870's, the prominent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted was commissioned to create plans for a new green space in the affluent Upper West Side district. This creative master would eventually design some of NYC's greatest parks, including Central Park and Prospect Park. Calvert Vaux is another notable landscape architect who's credited with beautifying what eventually became known as Riverside Park. Additionally, Samuel Parsons added his own personal touch to the overall layout of this newly established oasis in NYC. When Robert Moses took power in NYC's public planning departments in the 1930s, he enthusiastically expanded and enhanced Riverside Park. For example, he initiated the Westside Improvement Project that covered outdated rail tracks and concealed other eye sores that were affiliated with a declining industrial age. Moses successfully received heavy federal funding under the New Deal programs that revived the American economy during the Great Depression.
Landmarks and ArchitecturePerhaps the most prominent man-made landmark at Riverside Park is Grant's Tomb. Situated just off West 122nd Street, this monument is the official burial site of Ulysses S. Grant. John H. Duncan designed the Neoclassical structure that pays tribute to the 18th President of the U.S.A. and one of the top generals during the Civil War. Grant's Tomb roughly marks the northernmost section of the park. The tomb is classified as a New York City Landmark and U.S. National Memorial. While strolling the trails near 72nd Street, visitors might see the Eleanor Roosevelt Monument. Dedicated in 1996, this bronze installation celebrates the First Lady of the United States who proudly served for an unprecedented four terms. Situated off 89th Street, the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Monument is another top attraction at Riverside Park. Erected in 1902, this massive granite monument honours patriots who fought for the Union Army in the Civil War.
Recreation and ActivitiesWith miles of meandering trails, Riverside Park is a great place for strolls and jogs. There are plenty of waterfront promenades and esplanades that promise stunning views of the Hudson River. Charming bridges and other crossings also add some charm to the heavily-wooded parts of the park that are lined with American Elm trees and Japanese cherry blossom trees. Kids will have plenty of fun at the Dino Playground and Hippo Playground, which have colourful figures of exotic animals. Featuring clay and hard courts, the tennis centre at Riverside Park is located just south of Grant's Tomb. Additionally, the 96th Street Clay Tennis Courts are open for some competitive play. Many points at the park offer great views of a romantic sunset over the Hudson River and the skyline of northern New Jersey.
Visiting Riverside Park (Park Location & Layout)Riverside Park has a relatively narrow and elongated layout that stretches for dozens of blocks on the western side of Manhattan. This beautiful waterfront park hugs the eastern banks of the Hudson River, which separates NYC from New Jersey. Visitors can enjoy nearly 270 acres that truly provide a sanctuary from the vibrant and chaotic atmosphere of the Big Apple. The local hills and other sloped rocky terrains form natural boundaries that mark the eastern edges of the park. Therefore, many of the walkways, trails and staircases have serpentine shapes that account for steep gradients at the street level of the Upper West Side. Another notable component of the park is the busy Henry Hudson Parkway that's heavily used by commuters. Nevertheless, the traffic on this elevated road isn't directly seen from most points in the park.
Location: Riverside Park stretches from Riverside Drive to the Hudson River and from West 59th Street to Clair Place.
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