How fortunate that Park 79 Hotel enjoys a very special corner! Our hotel almost touches the American Museum of Natural History–a true host of iconic landmarks for our guests to enjoy “just up the street.” But, starting the day, turn a sharp right and head west till you can’t go any further. THERE IT IS! One of the city’s most beautiful parks–RIVERSIDE PARK. Beautiful parkland covering 330 acres Its history of neglect and abandonment, unfortunately, overcame the shoreline park designed by Frederick Olmstead in the 1870’s, a typical fact of many of our city’s parks. Its savior was Robert Moses, and under his strict reign the railroad tracks were hidden, he built The Rotunda and extended the park to the Hudson River shoreline, developing the multiple recreation areas. The southern edge then became 55th Street, while, just south of the George Washington Bride, the north border is 155th Street.
The Riverside Park -Hudson Greenway, the most heavily used bikeway in the USA, is the city’s longest, from Dyckman Street in the north to Battery Park in the south. (There’s a small gap for street use in Harlem.) Bike, skate or hike along the Hudson River, almost entirely at the water level. To the north, near the Georgeight, stroll four blocks and–
ENJOYING SEASONAL TREES, FLOWERS
At cherry blossom peak season in April, Riverside Park has its own claim to fame. Dubbed the Cherry Walk, this stretch along the Hudson, between 100th and 125th streets, is brilliant with dozens of cherry trees blooming in breathtaking splendor. Even more impressive is Sakura Park (just off Riverside Park at 122nd Street), packed with 2,000-plus trees donated by Japan in 1912. Crabapple trees fill the senses with perfume and white and pink floral clouds from 100th Street south to the 90’s. Summer’s dense shade brings families, friends and lovers to the lawns for picnics, readings, guitar strumming and cuddling. When autumn delights with warm sunny days and chilled nights, every seasonal color paints the viewer’s vision–breathtaking!
The vista along the Hudson River and looking out onto the New Jersey shoreline (with The Palisades at the north end of the park) is made even more spectacular by the numerous monuments and regal statues aligning the park. From Joan of Arc to Eleanor Roosevelt, history is brought to life, always with the park itself lending the dense backdrop.
The two most important monuments reign supreme:
SPORTS FIELDS in Riverside Park include tennis, volleyball and basketball courts; soccer fields, and a skate park at 108th Street. Visitors will find it difficult to actually participate (teams, permits, etc.), but watching is free, and a tennis-match invitation is always possible.
CULTURAL AND ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS are announced each spring for the season. Most are free.
DINING AND DRINKING venues range from hot dog and ice cream vendor carts to some really nice dining choices. Of course, picnics are welcome and very popular.
79TH STREET BOAT BASIN (so close to Park 79 Hotel)
Memories of New York City can only be enhanced when Riverside Park beckons time away from the busy, too-busy Midtown streets.