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Riverside Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Finer Points Of Riverside Park

Assistant Landscape Architect Michael Meric compiled the following factoids about one of New York City’s better-known public spaces. Riverside Park, at over 300 acres, stretches from 72nd to 155th Streets along the Hudson River. Riverside Park South, still under development, extends south to about 59th Street.

One of the forces behind the completion of the grid on the Upper West Side and the creation of Riverside Park and Riverside Drive was the rise in real estate values after the Civil War and the need for more housing out at the edges of Manhattan to relieve congestion.

One of the original plans for Riverside Drive called for a straight 100' wide carriage way - completely impractical on such a winding site. In 1873,
Fredrick Law Olmsted, fresh from success in Central Park, came up with a
sinuous route which took advantage of the natural terrain. He planned for no grades to be steeper than 1 in 26.

The original park extended only from 72nd to 125th Streets. Connection to the
upper half of the park was made possible by the completion, around the turn
of the century, of the viaduct over the Manhattan Valley, from 125th to 135th Streets, designed by F. Stewart Williamson.

The railroad was originally located at the water’s edge until a massive landfill project completed under Robert Moses added over 100 acres of land to the park, making room for the West Side Highway and adjacent sports and recreational amenities. Moses also enclosed the railroad tracks in a tunnel, creating a promenade above for strolling.

Riverside Park contains one of the few remaining great stands of American
Elm (Ulmus americana).

Olmsted did not originally plan the park and drive to be heavily forested, preferring the romantic open views of the Hudson River and Palisades, reminiscent of the Hudson River School. Those who came after him, including
Calvert Vaux, Samuel Parsons and Julius Munkvitz, developed and planted the
slopes of the park creating meadows, forests, paths and sequences of plantings and views, in the English Garden style.


Parks Department Welcomes New Member to the Family

Congratulations to KC Reilly, Deputy Director of Labor Relations and the Agency Health & Safety Coordinator, and her husband Joseph, who gave birth on March 11 to Maggie Rose Reilly. Maggie Rose weighed in at eight pounds, and measured 21 inches.

Parks Mourns the Passing of Avery Clark, Sr.

Avery Clark, Sr., who devoted 33 years of service to the City in Central Park, died on XX. At the time of his retirement, he was Assistant Supervisor of Recreation. His Son Avery Clark, Jr., also worked at Parks until 1996 as the Deputy Director of Payroll.

The viewing will be this Friday, March 17, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Bentas Funeral Home, 141st Street & St. Nicholas Avenue. The funeral will directly follow at 10:30 a.m.


"A poet looks at the world as a man looks at a woman."

Wallace Stevens


Directions to Riverside Park

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