Historic Harlem Parks


Thursday, June 14, 2018
No. 55

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today celebrated the completion of a three-year beautification project at the south end of Morningside Park in Northern Manhattan. For the ribbon cutting ceremony, Commissioner Silver was joined by City Council Member Mark Levine, Outgoing President of City Gardens Club Catherine C. Crane and Incoming President Melissa Cook, President and Founder of Morningside Park Conservancy Julia Boland, Friends of Morningside Park President Brad Taylor, City Gardens Club “Centennial Project” Chairman Lisa Meyer, second grade students from Stem Institute of Manhattan, and dancer Isio Maya Nuwere from the Harlem School of the Arts.

Funded with $150,000 from the City Gardens Club as part of their Centennial celebration, this project has rehabilitated the six-acre pond and waterfall at the southern end of the park. The project has included the planting of over 40 trees; extensive plantings of flowers, vines and shrubs; the improvement of the hardscape around the pond; and the installation of a magnificent lawn, transforming the area.

“The rehabilitation of Morningside Park’s pond and waterfall, one of the city’s most picturesque locations, goes a long way in providing Harlem with a special destination where they can benefit from the therapeutic power of green spaces,” said Commissioner Silver. “We are grateful that the City Gardens Club chose to celebrate their centennial anniversary by caring for Morningside Park in this generous way.”

"The City Gardens Club was delighted to complete this project alongside the dedicated and skilled Parks staff. The rehabilitated and enhanced pond and waterfall area of Morningside Park will bring so much joy to the Harlem community. Raising money for this purpose is our gift to the city in celebration of our Centennial this year," said Catherine Crane.

The Morningside Park pond and waterfall rehabilitation project was done in three phases and is now complete. Phase I consisted of building a paved viewing area along the soft edge of the pond, incorporating an observation nook in the pond, removal of debris on the two west islands in the pond, and planting 45 new trees including maples, dogwoods, tulip trees and Eastern white pines, as well as 200 shrubs and almost 1,000 perennials. Phase II included the park’s waterfall, which has been fully operational since last spring, thanks to Parks’ installation of a new pump.

A narrow strip that stretches 13 blocks through the neighborhoods of Harlem and Morningside Heights, Morningside Park blends dramatic landscaping with the pleasures of a community park. Built on a steep incline, multiple playgrounds nestle at the bottom of its cliff-like hillside, and visitors pause along its heights to take in a unique view. Winding paths bordered with flowers and trees lead to a cascading waterfall, across from which local teams play on its baseball fields. Parents bring their children to play in its playgrounds and learn in its after-school program, and on Saturdays local farmers sell their goods in an outdoor market.

With its convenient location in the heart of Northern Manhattan, only a few blocks from Columbia University, Riverside Park, St. Nicholas Park, the Apollo Theater, and the northern tip of Central Park, Morningside Park’s grounds make an ideal starting point for wanderings, bike rides, and walking tours.

Directions to Historic Harlem Parks

Know Before You Go

Recreation CentersPelham Fritz Recreation Center

Pelham Fritz Recreation Center remains closed to the public until further notice. Some recreation centers are being used for COVID-19 testing and vaccination services, the Learning Bridges program, and critical seasonal training. Please visit our Recreation Centers page to find an alternate recreation center.

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