All Aboard The Newest Segment Of Riverside Park South!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Standing before a historic New York Central steam locomotive, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe today joined City Council Member Gale Brewer, Riverside Park Fund President James Dowell, Extell Development Corporation President Gary Barnett, and local children to drive the last spike into the ground to open the fourth and final waterfront phase of Riverside Park South. The 3.5-acre park is one of the last remaining links in a continuous Hudson River Greenway and was once the site of the New York Central Railroad’s 60th Street yard.
“Today’s historic ribbon cutting connects Riverside Park with Hudson River Park in the same way the railroads connected the nations’ two coasts and creates a continuous greenway from Battery Park to 83rd Street,” said Commissioner Benepe. “In addition to new walkways and landscaping, the park’s grandest feature is a 60-year old, 95-ton, retired locomotive. This unique artifact is a reminder of the site’s industrial past as a rail yard, and as a sure-fire kid magnet is sure to ‘spike’ the imaginations of all who visit our newest waterfront oasis.”
Like the earlier phases of Riverside Park South, the design of Phase IV celebrates this site’s crucial role in the history of New York City. As a former rail yard, goods arrived by train and by barge from across the country. This vital link was known as the “lifeline of the City” because much of New York’s milk, grain, and vegetables were shipped here by barge from New Jersey or by rail from the north.
In keeping with that theme, a striking focal point of Phase IV is Locomotive 8625, a 60-ton, 660-horsepower American Locomotive Company switching engine built in 1946, identical to those that moved freight cars here from the 1940s to the 1970s. This particular engine served for decades in similar service in Brooklyn on the Cross Harbor Railroad before it was retired, restored and shipped by barge to Riverside South in 2006. Visitors, especially children, are invited to climb aboard this massive piece of machinery and contemplate its place in New York history.
Riverside Park South is a public/private partnership between the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, the Riverside South Planning Corporation, and Riverside South developer Hudson Waterfront Associates. Phase IV was constructed by Hudson Waterfront Associates at a cost of $10.9 million and is being deeded to the City of New York at no cost as part of the requirements of the City’s 1992 approval of the Riverside South development. The Riverside South developer is required to spend more than $62 million on park construction, and the 27.5 acre park is expected to be completed within the next decade as construction of Riverside South is finished.
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