Tag: NYC Parks

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Riverside Drive and West 86th Street  New York, NY 10024

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Riverside Drive and West 86th Street New York, NY 10024

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Riverside Drive and West 86th Street

New York, NY  10024

https://www.nycgovparks.org/park-features/riverside-park/virtual-tour/soldiers-sailors-monument

https://riversideparknyc.org/places/soldiers-and-sailors-monument/

Open: When the Riverside Park is open. The Monument is fenced off right now because of restoration.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d7269561-Reviews-Soldiers_and_Sailors_Monument_New_York-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I had passed the Soldier’s and Sailors’ Monument when I was walking the Upper West Side of Manhattan for my blog ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’. It sits in an almost graceful state of disrepair behind fencing protecting it from people. It seems that it had been in a state of decay since the start of construction in 1900.

I walked all around the monument while walking Riverside Park thinking it was a small copy of a Greek Temple or another smaller burial site like Grant’s Tomb. You could see where the gaps in the structure were and the need for repair from the stairs to the platform. Still there is a beauty in its details.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

History of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument:

The monument was first suggested in 1869 after the Civil War and was put on the back burner until 1893 when a nostalgia for the Civil War sweep across the country. The State of New York established a Board of Commission to create a monument to the soldiers’ and sailor’s who had served in the Union Army during the American Civil War (Wiki).

The ground was broke for the monument in 1900 and was completed in 1902 and it was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1902 with President Theodore Roosevelt officiating and a parade of Civil War veterans parading up Riverside Drive (Wiki).

Sailors and Soldiers Monument

The Monument when it opened

The monument was designed by architects Charles and Arthur Stoughton and the ornamental features were carved by architect Paul E. M. Duboy. The monument takes the form of a peripteral Corinthian temple raised on a high base with a tall cylindrical rusticated cella, that carries a low conical roof like a lid ringed by twelve Corinthian columns. The entrance has the names of the New York volunteer regiments and the battles in which they served as well as the Union Generals . The monument was designed a New York City landmark in 1976 and a State landmark in 2001 (Wiki).

The monument has been plagued with repairs since it was built and according to reports it is in need of desperate repairs. I could tell by the cracks and missing marble that their were flaws in its construction since it had been built.

Still it graces the entrance of Riverside Park with it’s beauty. Look at its details in the carvings and it look of a Greek temple. It is really impressive especially in the summer months with the park behind it in full display.

Soldier and Sailor Monument

You can’t get too close to the monument in its current state.

The Highbridge Water Tower    Highbridge Park Washington Heights, NYC 10022

The Highbridge Water Tower Highbridge Park Washington Heights, NYC 10022

The Highbridge Water Tower in Highbridge Park

Washington Heights around 174 Street

New York, NY  10022

https://www.nycgovparks.org/planning-and-building/capital-project-tracker/project/5937

https://www.nycgovparks.org/park-features/highbridge-park/planyc

When I was walking through High Bridge Park while exploring Washington Heights for my blog, ‘MywalkinManhattan.com’, I came across the Water Tower inside the park right next to the pool that was closed for the season and the Highbridge Walkway, which used to be the old aqueduct that used to bring fresh water into New York City.

Water Tower at High Bridge Park

The Highbridge Water Tower

The Highbridge Water Tower is nearly 200 feet tall and stands around 174th Street in Washington Heights. The tower used to hold a 47,000 gallon water tank that was fed by the Croton Aqueduct. The Highbridge next to it was the last leg of the aqueduct’s forty mile journey from upstate New York to Manhattan and is the oldest surviving bridge in New York City (T.M.Rives 2012).

High Bridge Park II

The Highbridge in Highbridge Park

The tower itself was built between 1866-1872 by architect John B. Jervis in the Romanesque Revival and  neo-grec styles and had a seven acre reservoir next to it. It opened in 1872 and was fully working in 1875. In 1949, the Water tower was disconnected from the system. The tower like the rest of the park had sat in disrepair for years and was restored between 1989-1990 (Wiki). The tower is now going through another restoration that should be finished by April of 2021 (NYCParks.com).

When I visited in the park that summer and then again in the Fall, it was behind fencing because it was still unsafe.

High Bridge Park IV

Highbridge Park is beautiful in the Spring and Fall but not the safest park in NYC.

High Bridge Park III

Walking the paths of Highbridge Park

Highbridge Park is a wonderful park to walk around in in the middle of the day during the warmer months. I would not venture around it later at night or in the winter months. It can be a bit desolate and when you walk around the paths by the river with all the abandoned cars and graffiti can be a bit dangerous. I got some looks when walking around.

High Bridge Park V

This was at the bottom of the bridge just off the path.

 

Lefferts Historic House                               452 Flatbush Avenue  Brooklyn, NY 11225

Lefferts Historic House 452 Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11225

Lefferts Historic House

452 Flatbush Avenue

Brooklyn, NY  11225

https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/aclk?sa=L&ai=DChcSEwiJxpfd-rziAhWUhdUKHRvGDtYYABAAGgJ3cw&ei=cX_sXMW4KK_ikgWu55GIBA&ohost=www.google.com&cid=CAASE-Rois_nEnRefUn86SeBr4y9Cgg&sig=AOD64_0Hi3Jo3vJIL0spSD97UBVOtelb8A&q=&sqi=2&ved=2ahUKEwiFtZDd-rziAhUvsaQKHa5zBEEQ0Qx6BAgXEAE&adurl=

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-5:00pm/Monday-Wednesday Closed/Thursday-Saturday 12:00pm-5:00pm

Admission: Suggested $3.00 fee towards the renovation of the house

 

I have visited the Lefferts Historic House a few times when visiting the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, The Brooklyn Museum and the Prospect Park Zoo, all of which are in the same cultural district of the neighborhood. The house is located near the entrance of Prospect Park just behind the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and right next to the zoo and the carousel.

The house sits on a plot of the park to give it the look of the house when it sat in a rural setting in Brooklyn about twelve blocks away. When walking into the house, there are a few rooms that are furnished and have period pieces in them to show what the house must have looked like in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. Most of the house is used for touring and for groups doing projects and games. You can’t go upstairs anymore. The house will be going through a renovation soon so watch the website for more information on that.

Lefferts Historic House II.jpg

The historic objects of the house

The outside of the house has wooded grounds with a working garden, an outside oven and historic objects that bring the period back to tourists and residents alike of what life must have been like when it was a working farm. When in season, you can walk amongst the vegetable and flower gardens and talk to the docents about the history of the house.

The house is part of the Historic House Trust and part of the Prospect Park Alliance.

 

History of the Lefferts Historic House:

The Lefferts family was one of the original settlers in Brooklyn with Lefferts Pieterson buying 58 acres of land here in 1687 and built the original homestead on that property. In 1776, the house was destroyed by American troops before the Battle of Brooklyn so that the British could not use it. The house was rebuilt in 1783 by one of his descendants (Prospect Park Alliance).

Lefferts Historic House III

The Lefferts Family

The current house was the home of Continental Army Lieutenant Pieter Lefferts and was built in 1783. It was originally located on Flatbush Avenue near Maple Street. When Pieter died the house was passed onto his son, John and then when John passed, the house was inherited by his daughter, Gertrude Lefferts Vanderbilt. The house was lived in by four generations of the Lefferts family.

With impending development of the area around the house at the end of the 19th century, John Lefferts estate offered to donate it to the City on the condition that house be moved to City owned property for historic preservation and protection. It was opened as a museum in 1920 by the Fort Green Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (Wiki).

The house is currently used as a Children’s Museum and Cultural site and open year round.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden                        990 Washington Avenue                  Brooklyn, NY 11225

Brooklyn Botanical Garden 990 Washington Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11225

Brooklyn Botanical Garden

990 Washington Avenue

Brooklyn, NY  11225

(718) 623-7210

http://www.bbg.org

Open:

Hours: Saturday and Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Friday  8:00am-6:00pm

Admission: Depending on the time of year/please check the website

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60827-d103900-Reviews-Brooklyn_Botanic_Garden-Brooklyn_New_York.html?m=19905

I have been a member of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden since 2002 and have never been bored on a trip to the gardens. In every season there is something new to see.

In the beginning of the Spring, Daffodil Hill is in full bloom and is a very impressive site. Hundreds of trumpet Daffodils line the hill of this side of the gardens surrounding the old oak trees. There are fields of yellow on yellow and yellow on orange flowers surrounding the paths against the backdrop of the green lawns.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden IV.jpg

Daffodil Hill

Magnolia Plaza where all the old flowering Magnolia trees bloom in full force in the Spring. The bright white and pink flowers are quite brilliant in colors and the sweet smell of the trees is wonderful. When it comes to the end of the season, you will be walking into a snow shower of colorful petals practically ‘snowing’ on you.

The next beautiful display is the Cherry Blossoms’ that bloom at the end of April. It is ablaze in all sorts of shades of pink and white. It brings the whole city out to see Mother Nature’s display of art. The big Japanese festival happens during this time and the park is full of all sorts of artists, dancers and musicians who have come to perform for the many members entering the park.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden III.jpg

The Cherry Tree Esplanade

In June, The Rose Garden festival takes place with hundreds of types of roses blooming in the same time period. This is when the members Rose Night happens with an evening of music, cocktails and looking over the flowering bushes all over the gardens. They even create a Rose Petal cocktail for the event that is interesting.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Rose Night

Rose Garden Rose Night

Becoming a member of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden has its advantages too. In August, in the height of the summer they have the member’s movie night where members from all over the area sit in the Cherry Blossom field to watch an outdoor movie. I have seen family films “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, “The Goonies”, “Moonstruck” and “The Fabulous Mr. Fox” (which was not too fabulous of a film). It is a nice evening of relaxing on the cool grass, eating a light picnic dinner and sitting under the stars watching a film. Could there be any other New York moment to enjoy?

The Fall months bring the changing of the leaves on the trees and all the late flowers that come out in September and October. During the holiday season there is not much to see in the park, especially during the winter months outside but there is a tropical display under glass in the enclosed buildings on the property and the Bonsai Garden display of plants also in the glassed in enclosure. There are lots of  walking tours of the new water gardens, rock gardens and of the Japanese Gardens.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden V.jpg

The Japanese Gardens at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden

The complexity of the gardens show their true beauty from season to season when flowers and trees come into bloom and show their true beauty.

History of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden:

Early plans for Prospect Park called for the park to straddle Flatbush Avenue. The City of Brooklyn purchased the land for this purpose in 1864. When Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux brought their final plans to the city for approval in the 1860’s, they had eliminated the problematic decision along Flatbush. The northeast portion went unused, serving as an ash dump (WIKI).

Legislation in 1897 as the city moved toward consolidation reserved 39 acres for a botanical garden and the garden itself was founded in 1910. The garden was initially know as the Institute Park. It was run under the auspices of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, which included (until the 1970’s) the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Children’s Museum and Brooklyn Academy of Music. It opened as the Brooklyn Botanical Garden on May 13, 1911 with the Native Flora Garden being the first established section (WIKI).

Harold Caparn was appointed as the landscape architect in 1912.  Caparn designed most of the rest of the grounds over the next three decades, including the Osborne Gardens, Cranford Rose Garden, Magnolia Plaza and the Plant Collection. Construction of the Laboratory Building and Conservatory began in 1912 and the building was dedicated in 1917. The building-now simply the Administration Building-was designed in the Tuscan  Revival style by William Kendal for McKim, Mead & White, the architectural firm that built the Brooklyn Museum, Manhattan Municipal Building and many other prominent New York City buildings. It was designated a New York City Landmark in 2007 (WIKI).

The Specialty Gardens & Collections include:

The Cherry Trees

Japanese Hill-Pond Collection

Cranford Rose Garden

Native Flora Garden

Alice Recknagel Ireys Fragrance Garden

Children’s Garden

Water Garden

Other Gardens:

Plant Family Collection

Steinhardt Conservatory

 

Fight For Sunlight!

Text Sunlight to 484848 to help protect Brooklyn’s Garden from new buildings that would block vital sunlight to our plants.

bbg.org/sunlight

Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Fight for Sunlight!

 

Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s Fight for Sunlight!

Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s plant collections are under serious threat from a proposed massive building development including two 39 story towers at 960 Franklin Avenue (the spice factory site) just 150 ft from the Garden.

Fight for the Sunlight II.jpg

The buildings for the ‘Fight for the Sunlight’ proposal

Towers of this size would block hours of sunlight to the  Garden’s 23 conservatories, greenhouses and nurseries. These facilities grow plants for the entire 52 acre Garden and serve as a hub for community and educational programs.

Fight for the Sunlight.jpg

‘Fight for the Sunlight’  sign in the gardens

Current zoning protects the Garden’s access to sunlight by capping building height at this location. These laws must remain in place to prevent irreparable damage to the Garden. Join us in signing a petition to City officials to protect the integrity and beauty of Brooklyn’s Garden.

Three ways to take Action!

Enroll in mobile updates by texting SUNLIGHT to 484848. We’ll text you new ways to get involved and important upcoming campaigns dates.

Sign the Garden’s petition at bbg.org/sunlight urging elected officials to protect the irreplaceable assets of Brooklyn Botanic Garden and oppose high-rise construction at this location. While you’re there, opt in to receive campaign updates so you can make sure your voice is heard on this issue.

Check out our Fight for Sunlight exhibit in the Conservatory to learn more about this project and why it has to be stopped. Share your support on social media using #FightFor Sunlight to tag your photos taken at the Garden.

bbg.org/sunlight

 

Disclaimer: Please call the Brooklyn Botanical Garden for more information on the gardens.

 

Carl Schurz Park East 86th Street and East End Avenue New York, NY 10028

Carl Schurz Park East 86th Street and East End Avenue New York, NY 10028

Carl Schurz Park

East 86th Street and East End Avenue

New York, NY  10028

(212) 459-4455

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/M081/

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/carl-schurz-park/history

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-12:00am

Admission: Free

I have been visiting Carl Schurz Park many times while walking the neighborhood for my project, “MywalkinManhattan.com”. You can see the entries from Days One Hundred and Ten, Six, Four and Two. I also visited again when touring Gracie Mansion for this blog, “VisitingaMuseum” (see write up under Gracie Mansion).

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/7156

The park is such a nice place to relax in the warmer months. Being so close to the river in the winter months when the wind kicks in from the river can be brutal. In the Spring and Summer, it is one of the nicest parks to just sit and relax in. During the day, it is fun to watch the kids play in the large playground in the middle of the park. On the weekends the place is packed with kids, parents, and nannies all vying for space.

The gardens are beautiful and are very nicely maintained between the City and the Carl Schurz Park Association, who I have seen members weeding, landscaping and planting in the park during the times of my visits. It is relaxing to just sit by the river and watch the river go by and the boats sail by in the warmer months.

Carl Schurz Park IV

The flowers return during each part of the season almost on cue and the park is awash with colors of daffodils, tulips, irises and tiger lilies. There are many flowering plants in the summer that add to the rainbow of colors that accent all the trees. It is a nice place to sit and read a book while watching people walk their dogs.

At twilight, it is fun to watch the lights go on in Queens across the river and the whole city come to life again in the evening. In the warm summer months, the kids are playing in the park, residents have their dogs running around the Dog Run and you can hear the activity at Gracie Mansion. Trust me, security is tight in that section of the park.

This is a nice residential park to relax in when you visiting the Upper East Side.

The History of Carl Schurz Park:

Carl Schurz Park, named by the Board of Alderman in 1910 for the soldier, statesman and journalist Carl Schurz (1829-1906), overlooks the turbulent waters of Hell Gate. The first known Dutch owner of the land was Sybout Claessen, who was granted the property in 1646 by the Dutch West India Company. Jacob Walton, a subsequent owner, built the first house on the site in 1770. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army built a fort surrounding the Walton residence to guard the strategic shipping passage of Hell Gate. After the British attack on September 8th, 1776, the house was destroyed and the Americans were forced to retreat from the fort, which the British retained until the end of the war in 1783.

Carl Schurz Park III

 

The land was purchased from Walton’s heirs in 1798 by Archibald Gracie, a Scottish shipping magnate. He built a mansion there in 1799, where his illustrious guests included future United States President, John Quincy Adams and future French King Louis Phillippe. The estate, sold by Gracie in 1819 was acquired by the City from the Wheaton family in 1891. The first home of the Museum of the City of New York from 1924-32, the mansion served as the official residence of New York’s mayor’s since Fiorello LaGuardia moved there in 1942.

gracie mansion ii

Gracie Mansion during the Wheaton Years

The southern portion of the park was set aside by the City as East River Park in 1876. The former Gracie estate was added in 1891 and a new landscape design by Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons was completed in 1902. Maud Sargent re-landscaped the park in 1939 when the East River Drive underpass was under construction. Charles Haffen’s sculpture of Peter Pan, created in 1928 for a fountain in the lobby of the old Paramount Theater was installed in the park in 1975.

carl schurz park ii

Carl Schurz Park in the Summer

The park name honors Schurz, a native of Cologne, Germany. It was strongly supported by the large German community of adjacent Yorkville. After emigrating to the United States in 1852, Schurz quickly made his reputation as a skilled orator and proved to be instrumental to Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 election campaign. His most significant political offices were that of United States Senator from Missouri (1869-1875) and Secretary of the Interior (1877-81) during the Hayes administration. In later years, Schurz was editor of the New York Tribune and an editorial writer for Harper’s Weekly. Schurz is also honored by Karl Bitter’s statue of 1913, located in Morningside Drive and 116th Street.

Carl Schurz

Carl Schurz

Recent improvements include rebuilding of the stairs, the complete restoration of the playground and the opening of Carl’s Dog Run. These and other projects, including the planting of flowers, have been accomplished through a partnership between the Parks and the Carl Schurz Park Association, which has demonstrated the community’s commitment to restoring, maintaining and preserving this park since it formed in 1974.

(NYC Parks Official Website)

My write up on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2182

carl schurz park iii

Carl Schurz Park in the Summer months.

Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street   Bronx, NY 10471

Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street Bronx, NY 10471

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street

Bronx, NY  10471

(718) 543-3344

infor@vchm.org

Open: Tuesday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm/Saturday & Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm

Admission: $5.00 for Adults/$3.00 for Seniors & Students/Children under 12 are free/General Admission is free on Wednesdays. Guided and group tours are available.

Review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47369-d103501-Reviews-Van_Cortlandt_House-Bronx_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I visited the Van Cortlandt House Museum for the their Annual Christmas Decorated House event. The mansion was decorated for Christmas in the 1700’s so it was not overdone as it would during the Victorian times. The front of the house entrance was done with sprays of holly, mistletoe above the door and garlands of pine around the banister and fireplaces. The windows had candles in them and the dining room was set for Christmas luncheon in post-Revolutionary War era.

Van Cortlandt House VI.jpg

Van Cortlandt House for Christmas is Post-Revolutionary War

While most of the house is represented during the Dutch era with floors with no rugs, vintage furniture and decorations and the second and third floors are set for family entertainment. The first floor is set for entertaining for the holidays with the formal dining room, family palour and the formal living room for games and dancing. The formal dining room was the only room decorated post-Revolutionary War era.

van cortlandt mansion xmas ii

Van Cortlandt Mansion at Christmas 1800’s

Until the Victorian era, Christmas was a more religious affair with church service in the morning and luncheon in the afternoon. Things were formal and less elaborate. The acts of gift giving, sleigh rides, tree decorating and card giving came during the affluence of Queen Victoria’s reign in the post Civil-War era. This is the reason why the house is decorated so simply and elegantly.

Van Cortlandt House V.jpg

Van Cortlandt House elegant and understated at Christmas

In 2019, the site celebrated the holidays with a Sinterklaas, a Dutch Christmas celebration, a candlelight tour and a reading from Santa Claus. Please check their website for more information on future events.

History of the Van Cortlandt’s:

The Van Cortlandt House Museum, also known as Fredrick Van Cortlandt House or Van Cortlandt House, is the oldest surviving building in New York City’s borough of The Bronx. The Georgian style house, begun in 1748, was build of fieldstone by Fredrick Van Cortlandt (1699-1749) on the plantation that had been owned and farmed by his family since 1691. Fredrick intended the house to be a home for him and his wife, Francis Jay and daughters, Anna Maria, 14 and Eve, 13. His sons, Augustus, 21 and Fredrick, 19, were not intended to be permanent residents of the house. Sadly, Fredrick died before the new house was completed. In his will written in 1759, Fredrick left the house to his son, James Van Cortlandt (1726-1781) and a life time tenancy to his widow, Francis Jay Van Cortlandt (1701-1780).

Van Cortlandt House IV.jpg

The Van Cortlandt House gardens in the Summer

The Van Cortlandt’s were a mercantile family prominent in New York affairs. Fredrick’s father, Jacobus, established a thriving wheat growing and processing business on the plantation including a grist mill for processing the wheat into flour and a fleet of shallow draft boats to carry the flour from the south end his lake down Tibbet’s Brook and out to the Harlem and Hudson Rivers to market. During the Revolutionary War, the house was used by Rochambeau, Lafayette and Washington.

(From History of Van Cortlandt House and Museum)

In 1887, after 140 years of occupancy by the Van Cortlandt family and the community of plantation workers, the property was sold to the City of New York and made a public parkland. Before the house became a museum, it saw a variety of uses including as a temporary police precinct house and as a dormitory for ranch hands responsible for taking care of a herd of buffalo.

Van Cortlandt House III

Van Cortlandt House East Bedroom

By 1895, The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York expressed their interest in restoring the house as a museum open to the public. There was only one obstacle keeping the Colonial Dames from this important project, there was no provision in the New York State Law allowing the stewardship of a publicly owned building by a private organization. Undaunted, the first Society President, Mrs. Townsend, took the Society’s cause to Albany where on May 22, 1896 in the 199th session of the New York Legislature, Chapter 837 was approved by the governor and passed by a 3/5 majority to become law.

Van Cortlandt House II.jpg

The Van Cortlandt House guest bedroom

After nearly a year if repairs and restoration, Van Cortlandt House Museum was opened to great fanfare on May 25th of 1897. The original license agreement grained custody of the house to the National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York for a period of 25 years at a ‘peppercorn’ rent of $1.00 per year. Although the Society no longer pays the city rent, they remain, to this day as dedicated to Van Cortlandt House as they were in 1896.

Van Cortland Park.jpg

 

Van Cortlandt Park in the Summer Months

In 1967, Van Cortlandt House was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967. The house was declared a New York City Landmark on March 15, 1966, recognizing the historic and architectural importance of both the exterior and interior.

(From the Van Cortlandt House Museum NSCDNY)

van cortland mansion xmas

Van Cortlandt House Museum at Christmas

Bowling Green Park                         Broadway & Whitehall Street                 New York, NY 10004

Bowling Green Park Broadway & Whitehall Street New York, NY 10004

Bowling Green Park

Broadway & Whitehall Street

New York, NY  10004

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bowling-green

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bowling-green/history

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d136413-Reviews-Bowling_Green-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

I visited this wonderful park for my walking project, ‘MywalkinManhattan.com-Day 113-Walking the Historical Bars & Pubs of New York City’.

This is one of the most fascinating parks in New York City and probably one the most historical in the shaping of the United States. Located on the grounds of the original Dutch settlement, this tiny park placed an important role in the confrontation of the Loyalist versus the Patriots when deciding who to support during the Revolutionary War. The toppling of the King George Statue was the beginning of a new Republic. Along the historic fence which has been standing in the park since the late 1700’s are the markings where the tiny crowns were sawed off by the Patriots in defiance to the Crown.

Bowling Green Park III

The toppling of the statute of King George

Now it is a resting spot for tired tourists off the boats from Ellis and Liberty Islands and for Wall Street workers who need a nice place to eat their lunch. It is still a relaxing little park with tree lined paths and a beautifully landscaped fountain area. In the later summer, the flowers are still in bloom and the colorful highlights of the trees accent all sides of the park and keep it private. Even in this secrete setting it is mind boggling of the fact that people put their lives on the line to establish this country right from this tiny park.

Bowling Green Park IV

Map of Lower Manhattan

Take time to walk through the cool paths of trees to the edges of the park, which are lines with historic buildings with decorative stone work and look at the beautiful statuary work on the old U.S. Custom House that now serves as the Museum of the American Indian. Take a quick tour of Stone Street just a few blocks away and see the development of the New York City after the Great Fire of 1823, which destroyed most of lower Manhattan.

Just at the tip of the norther part of the park is the famous statue of ‘Charging Bull’ a gift to the City by artist Arturo Di Modica to show the ‘strength of the American people’ and the now becoming famous statue of “Fearless Girl” by artist Kristen Visbal which was erected for International Women’s Day. Both statues have created quite the debate since they were both placed here in 1989 and 2017 and their fate is up to the City.

Bowling Green Park II

Take time to really see what all these symbols mean to the Bowling Green.

History of the Park:

The Bowling Green is New York City’s oldest park. According to tradition, this spot served as the council ground for Native American tribes and was the site of the legendary sale of Manhattan to Peter Minuit in 1626. The  Dutch called the area “the Plain” and used it for several purposes including a parade ground, meeting place and cattle market. It marked the beginning of Heere Staat (High Street, now Broadway), a trade route which extended north through Manhattan and the Bronx. In 1686, the site was designated as public property, when the City Charter put all ‘waste, vacant, unpatented and unappropriated lands’ under municipal domain (NYC Parks.org).

Bowling Green was first designated as a park in 1733, when it was offered for rent at the cost of one peppercorn per year. Lessees John Chambers, Peter Bayard and Peter Jay were responsible for improving the site with grass, trees and a wood fence “for the Beauty & Ornament of the Said Street as well as for the Recreation & delight of the Inhabitants of this City.” A gilded lead statue of King George III was erected here in 1770 and the iron fence (now a New York City landmark) was installed in 1771. On July 9, 1776, after the first public reading in New York State of the Declaration of Independence, this monument was toppled by angry citizens who dragged it up Broadway, sent it Connecticut, melted it down and recast it as ammunition. Portions of the statue are held by the Museum of the City of New York and the New York Historical Society (which also possesses musket balls made from the statue’s head) (NYC Parks.org).

By the late 18th Century, Bowling Green was the center of New York’s most fashionable residential district, surrounded by rows of Federal-style townhouses. In 1819, the Common Council that neighbors could plant and tend the area in return for the exclusive use of the park by their families. By mid-century, shipping offices inhabited the old townhouses and the park was returned to more public use. Monuments installed in the park in the 19th century include two fountains (now gone) and a statue of New York’s early Mayor and later colonial Supreme Court Judge Abraham DePeyster (1896, by artist George Bissell). DePeyster was moved to nearby Hanover Square in 1976 and finally to Thomas Paine Park in 2014 (NYC Parks.org).

Bowling Green Park V

In the first decade of the 20th Century, Bowling Green was disrupted by the construction of the IRT subway. The park was rebuilt as  part of citywide improvements made in preparation for visitors to the 1939 World’s Fair. Renovations to Bowling Green included removing the fountain basin, relocating the interior walkways, installing new benches and providing new plantings. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, members of the Board of Estimate and local businessmen participated in the rededication ceremony held on April 6, 1939. Despite unseasonable late snow, the ceremony included a demonstration of colonial era lawn bowling (NYC Parks.org).

A 1976-77 capital investment restored Bowling Green to its 18th century appearance. Improvements included the redistribution of subway entrances, the installation of new lampposts and benches and landscaping. Publisher and philanthropist George Delacourte (best known for the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park) donated the park’s central fountain (NYC Parks.org).

Since December of 1989, the statue of Charging Bull (1987-89) has been on display at the north end of the park. Its sculptor, Arturo DiModica, says the three ton and a half bronze statue represents “the strength, power and hope of the American people for the future.” It has been linked to the property enjoyed by Wall Street in the past decade. In 2004, the reconstruction of the park included new perimeter bluestones sidewalks and interior paths, landscaping, plantings and the re-sodding of the lawn. Antique-style gas lamps and hoof benches were also placed in the park with the addition of a new irrigation system for the parks fountain (New York Parks.org).

Charging Bull II

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the New York City Parks.org site and I given them full credit for it. This is one of the special parks of the City so take some time to visit it while on your way to one of the other tourist sites or to Liberty Island or Ellis Island.