St. Nicholas Park
The Daily Plant : Monday, November 27, 2006
St. Nicholas Park Selected As Park Of The Month
St. Nicholas Park in Harlem is November’s Park of the Month. The leafy oasis, built into the ridge separating Harlem Heights and Central Harlem, is one of New York City’s most beautiful spots. The secluded landscape is notable as no streets pass through the 14 blocks that comprise St. Nicholas Park. Thanks to funding from local elected officials and Mayor Bloomberg, as well as enthusiastic support from Council Member Robert Jackson, St. Nicholas Park has been returned to its former glory.
“Hidden amid the rocky landscape of Upper Manhattan, St. Nicholas Park is truly a walker’s paradise,” said Commissioner Benepe. “While historically a central green space for the Harlem community, the park fell into disrepair in the 1990s. The tremendous support of local community groups and elected officials has returned this ideal spot to its original splendor.”
Like Harlem’s other ribbon parks, St. Nicholas was built on a rugged mass of rock, following the steep and irregular topography of North Manhattan. Landscape Architect and Parks Commissioner Samuel Parsons Jr. (1844-1920) designed the rustic park, which provides the only link between Harlem Heights.
Last spring, Parks began a successful program with school children called “Fun in the Park” which brought more than 100 children to St. Nicholas Park to learn rugby, basketball and yoga. Rangers led nature tours and children learned about the great outdoors. Next spring, Parks will offer recreational activities for children at St. Nicholas Park led by a Playground Associate. The Playground Associate Program brings fulltime recreation workers to parks, playgrounds and recreational centers around the City.
Parks is also working on a number of projects at St. Nicholas Park. Earlier this year, Parks restored the grand bluestone entryway, steps, and surrounding landscape at the park. Parks replaced 138 bluestone steps and improved the landscape, carefully following the graceful design originally set out by Parsons 100 years ago. Council Member Jackson’s $1.2 million allocation was the single largest contribution in the park’s history. Parks is also working with Friends of St. Nicholas Park on a variety of projects, including plans for a new dog run. The dog run is expected to open by the end of this year.
A second $1.2 million allocation by Council Member Jackson will support additional path work north of the 130th Street staircases that will begin next summer. A separate project to restore the lower paths south of 130th Street is being funded with mayoral funds and will begin this spring. Finally, Parks will restore the basketball courts at Ari Edinboro Playground and the north end of the park.
Park of the Month introduces some our greatest parks and greenspaces to curious New Yorkers and visitors alike.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“To err is human. To forgive is canine.”
Directions to St. Nicholas Park
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