NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Riverside Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Improvements On The 70th Anniversary Of Riverside Park’s Expansion

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

In honor of the 70th anniversary of its historic expansion, Parks & Recreation recently celebrated three important projects in Riverside Park. On Saturday, October 13, Commissioner Benepe joined City Council Member Gale Brewer and Riverside Park Fund President James Dowell to break ground on the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Plaza and cut the ribbon on the newly-reconstructed Serpentine Promenade. Later in the week, on Wednesday, October 17, Commissioner Benepe joined Mayor Bloomberg, Borough President Scott Stringer, Council Member Brewer, State Senator Eric Schneiderman, and Riverside Park Fund President Dowell to put shovels in the ground for the construction a new greenway connection in the park.

Each project recalls the addition of 132 acres and amenities like playgrounds and the 79th Street Boat Basin in 1937 by Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia and Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, while heralding another era of great park improvements.

In 1875, Frederick Law Olmsted completed a schematic design for Riverside Park and the first sections of the park opened five years later. In 1935, Landscape Architect Gilmore Clarke designed the area of Riverside Park to the west of the newly constructed Henry Hudson Parkway. His design, completed under the supervision of Commissioner Moses, created an area of landfill to the west of the New York Central Railroad line, beyond the Olmsted-era footprint of Riverside Park. This extension provided an area adjacent to the water for active recreation extending from West 72nd Street to 155th Street along the Hudson River. In 1937 a waterfront esplanade was created from West 72nd Street to 83rd Street.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument Plaza reconstruction will add new pavement, curbs, fencing, park benches, park security lighting and plantings to the area. The existing pavement will be replaced with hex block pavement, new granite block tree pits, and bluestone curbs. In addition, a new steel panel fence will be installed along the eastern perimeter of the plaza and new wood and metal "hoof" benches will line the site. The $1 million project is made possible thanks to $710,000 allocated by Council Member Brewer and $378,000 in Mayoral funds.

The $1.68 million reconstruction of Riverside Park's Serpentine Promenade removed the existing deteriorated concrete pavement and replaced it with asphalt. New benches, curbs and fencing were installed. Bluestone pavement and asphalt hex block pavement were also added to the octagonal plaza. The project has been funded by allocations of $1.5 million from Council Member Brewer and $180,000 from the Mayor.

Construction of a $13.3 million over-water path, or Riverwalk, will connect the Hudson River Esplanade from West 83rd to West 91st Streets, creating unbroken waterfront access from 59th Street to 133rd Street. The Mayor allocated over $13 million towards the project, with the remainder contributed through the Federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act.

This year, during the month of October, the Riverside Park Fund and the Parks Department are presenting Riverside Alive! : 70 Years after Robert Moses, a festival featuring free events for the community celebrating Riverside Park's progress.


“East side, West side
All around the town
We’re building parks and playgrounds
Getting shovels in the ground.
East side, West side
Riding throughout the parks
We’ll bike the brand new greenways
Having fun ‘till it gets dark…”

Adrian Benepe
-Adapted from “Sidewalks of New York,”
by James Blake and Charles Lawlor

Directions to Riverside Park

Was this information helpful?