NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Riverside Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, November 13, 2006

Renovating A Playground & Promenade At Riverside Park

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

In recent weeks, Parks celebrated two major improvements to a jewel of Manhattan's West Side - Riverside Park.

On October 31, Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro joined City Council Member Gale Brewer, Riverside Park Fund President Jim Dowell, members of The Hippo Playground Project, and a parade of neighborhood children dressed in Halloween costumes to celebrate recent renovations to the Park’s Hippo Playground.

Hippo Playground was upgraded with a more challenging play unit to meet the needs of the community’s children.  Parks replaced the existing piece of toddler equipment with a larger play unit to better accommodate the 5-12 year age group that primarily uses the site.  New asphalt pavement and safety surface was installed around the new unit, and the existing swing set was repainted.

The renovations to Hippo Playground were made possible with $15,000 allocated by Mayor Bloomberg and $236,000 allocated by City Council Member Gale Brewer.  The funding package also paid for renovation work at Dinosaur Playground at 97th street in Riverside Park.

The Hippo Playground property on 91st Street was acquired in 1937 as part of the Riverside Park expansion. The playground was built later that year, and was known as the 91st Street Playground until 1993, when the Playground Project raised $120,000 to fund the construction of hippopotamus art in the middle of the playground, and the playground was most appropriately renamed.

Less than one week later, on November 6, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, City Council Member Gale Brewer, State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, District Manager of Community Board 7 Penny Ryan, and Riverside Park Fund President Jim Dowell to break ground on the reconstruction of the Serpentine Promenade at Riverside Park, extending from West 83rd Street to West 91st Street.

With an allocation of $1.5 million from Council Member Brewer and $178,000 from Mayor Bloomberg, Parks is removing all of the existing deteriorated concrete pavement and replacing it with asphalt.  New benches, curbs and a western fence will be installed.  Views of the Hudson River will be enhanced.  Bluestone pavement and asphalt hex block pavement will be installed at the octagonal plaza.

This is the first reconstruction of the Serpentine Promenade since it was originally built in 1937.  At that time, under the leadership of Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, designers Gilmore D. Clarke and Clinton Lloyd extended the Park to the Hudson River, spanning both sides of the newly created Henry Hudson Parkway.  The Promenade was constructed directly on top of the New York Central Railway tunnel and took advantage of the views of the Manhattan waterfront.

In conceiving this redesign, Parks Designer Margaret Bracken incorporates several elements included in Clarke and Lloyd’s original 1937 design drawings, such as the asphalt and bluestone pavements.


“Save the cheerleader.  Save the world.”

Hiro Nakamura

Directions to Riverside Park

Was this information helpful?