Parks & Recreation Announces July’s Park Of The Month
Friday, July 14, 2006
No. No. 57
Morningside Park in Manhattan has been named July’s Park of the Month. Just under 30 acres, this beautiful and expansive Park has undergone a variety of major improvements, and will be seeing many more within the next year.
"Morningside Park is one of the great works of Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux- but, like a lot of New York City parks it fell on hard times 30 years ago. Since then, a concerted partnership between Parks, local elected officials, and citizen activists has created a renaissance for the Park," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "With its landscapes and staircases largely restored, and a neighborhood stewardship group fully engaged, the best days of the Park are still to come."
In the fall of 2005, the stairs at 120th Street were renovated, thanks to the advocacy of dedicated community residents and the allocations of outgoing City Council Member Bill Perkins. The new stairs have already become a major thoroughfare for pedestrian traffic, bringing neighbors east and west of the park closer together. The sidewalk from 110th Street to 116th Street along Morningside Drive was also reconstructed a few years ago, and Parks plans to continue the project up to 122nd Street this fall.
In May, Parks broke ground on renovations of the two ballfields located in the Park’s southern end. The renovation project will include the re-grading of both ballfields, and new topsoil and clay, as well as new equipment and benches, and a handicapped accessible drinking fountain.
The security booth at 116th and Morningside Drive, which is maintained by Columbia University and Friends of Morningside, was replaced in this spring. In addition, the surrounding community has become much more proactive in reporting vandalism, light outages, and in working with the Police and security services on issues of safety and security.
Volunteers and Friends of Morningside are constantly offering assistance in improvements to the landscape and natural habitat, scheduling work days and cleanup and maintenance initiatives, including the recent major brush and growth removal along the Park’s upper paths. Friends of Morningside have also initiated a collaboration with the Central Park Conservancy, which will add an additional work crew to the Park on an ongoing basis.
Morningside Park was constructed in 1985 using plans drawn up by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Within the Park stand several celebrated monuments, including Lafayette and Washington by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, the Seligman Fountain by Edgar Walter, and a memorial to Carl Schurz designed by Karl Bitter and Henry Bacon in 1913. There is also a beautiful arboretum to honor Dr. Thomas Kiel, founder of Friends of Morningside Park, an organization that has worked tirelessly alongside the Parks Department to keep Morningside Park beautiful, clean and popular.
The Park’s name derives from its eastern side where the sun rises beautifully every morning. This section of the Park is separated from the western side by a large cliff of Manhattan schist, a unique feature in the cityscape.
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CONTACT: Warner Johnston / Carli Smith (212) 360-1311
Directions to Morningside Park
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