Tag: NYC Parks

General Grant National Memorial 122nd Street and Riverside Drive New York, NY 10027

General Grant National Memorial 122nd Street and Riverside Drive New York, NY 10027

The General Grant National Memorial

122nd Street and Riverside Drive

New York, NY 10027

(212) 666-1640

http://www.nps.gov/gegr

Hours: Wednesday-Sunday: 9:00am-5:00pm/Closed Monday-Tuesday/Check for tour times on site.

Fee: Donation

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d105812-Reviews-General_Grant_National_Memorial-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

A Grateful Nation:

The Grant Memorial was designed by architect John Duncan. Rising to an imposing 150 feet from the bluff overlooking the Hudson River, it took 12 years to build and remains the largest mausoleum in North America. Its  great size was meant to express the profound admiration Americans felt for the Civil War commander and was propelled to the forefront of America’s pantheon of heroes and declared the equal of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Spearheaded by the Grant Monument Association, some 90,000 people from around the United States and the world donated over $600,000 to construct the memorial, the largest public fundraising effort up to that time. Initial fundraising was led by Richard T. Greener, first black graduate of Harvard and a Grant supporter who credited the general with his advancement. Many African Americans contributed to the building fund.

The memorial is open from 9:00am-5:00pm daily. For information or to arrange for group visits call (212) 666-1640.

Among the most Revered of Men:

This large classically proportioned mausoleum honors the Civil War general who saved the nation from dissolution and the president who worked to usher in a new era of peace and equality for all Americans. Ulysses S. Grant, a plain-spoken unassuming man who studiously avoided pomp and ceremony had volunteered his services for the Union effort when the Civil War erupted in 1861. In doing what he considered simply his duty, he emerged after four years of fighting as one of the great military leaders in history. Aggressiveness, speed, tenacity and the ability to adjust his plans in the face of unexpected impediments all helped to bring him victory.

As great as he was in war, Grant showed magnanimity and compassion in peace. He granted humane and generous terms when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to him on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House. As president he pardoned many former Confederate leaders at the same time insisting on protecting the full political equality of former slaves. He was also concerned that American Indian tribes be treated with dignity  and respect. His fundamental desire for peace was reflected in his efforts to solve international disputes by arbitration rather than by threat of war. At the time of his death in 1885. Grant was universally respected by northerners and southerners alike.

Because of Grant’s status as a national hero, most Americans assumed he would be buried in Washington DC but his family preferred New York City. Grant himself had no strong preference; his only desire was for his wife, Julia to be buried next to him. The funeral on August 8, 1885 was one of the most spectacular events New York had ever seen. Buildings all over the city were draped in black. An estimated one million people crowded sidewalks, filled windows, stood on rooftops and climbed trees and telephone poles for a view of the procession, which stretched seven miles and took  five hours to pass.

Grant’s remains were placed in a temporary vault until an appropriate memorial could be funded and built. On April 27, 1897, the 75th anniversary of Grant’s birth, thousands of people, including diplomats from 26 countries, attended the dedication ceremony for the completed memorial. The dedication parade, led by President William McKinley, was almost as large as Grant’s funeral parade. Julia Grant reviewed the ceremony sitting next to President McKinley. She was laid by her husband’s side after her death in 1902.

The tomb is located in Riverside Park near Columbia University and across the street from Sakura Park, where Japanese Cherry trees are in bloom every Spring. Near the tomb is the memorial to the ‘Amicable Child’ and that should not be missed as well.

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the National Park Service pamphlet. This is a very interesting National Memorial and should not be missed. It is opened at certain times of the week, so please look for the posted hours. (The memorial is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily. For more information or to arrange for groups visits, please call (212) 666-1640).

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Shorakkopoch Rock Inwood Hill Park New York, NY

Shorakkopoch Rock Inwood Hill Park New York, NY

Shorakkopoch Rock

Located in Inwood Hill Park and part of the NYC Parks System. The rock was dedicated on February 2, 1954 by the Peter Minuet Post #1247, American Legion.

I came across the Shorakkopoch Rock, the noted spot that Peter Minuet has been said to have bought the island of Manhattan from the Indians. No one is too sure where the spot of the ‘transaction’ took place as some feel it may have been closer to downtown by the Bowling Green, where the original Dutch settlement was located or maybe he travelled to them, we will never know. What we do know is that he said the transaction took place under a tulip tree and in this spot used to be a tulip tree that was over 220 years old before it died.

The rock reads:

Shorakkopoch: According to legend, on this site of the rock, principal Manhattan Indian Village, Peter Minuet in 1626, purchased Manhattan Island for trinkets and beads them worth about 60 guilders. This boulder also marks the spot where a tulip tree (Liriodendron Tulipifera)  grew to a height of 165 feet and a girth of 20 feet. It was until its death in 1932 at the age of 220 years old, the oldest living link with the Reckgawawang Indians, who lived here. Dedicated as part of New York City’s 300th Anniversary celebration by the Peter Minuet Post 1247 American Legion 1954.

For more information on the rock, please contact the Art & Antiquities  at (212) 360-8143.

Disclaimer: This information was taken form the NYC Parks Department website.

Please take time out when visiting Manhattan to see this important piece of the city’s history as the city itself was founded on this very site.

Muscota Marsh West 218th Street and Indian Road New York, NY

Muscota Marsh West 218th Street and Indian Road New York, NY

Muscota Marsh

West 218th Street & Indian Road

New York, NY

Inwood Section of Manhattan.

I came across the Muscota Marsh when I was walking the neighborhood of Inwood in 2015 and thought that this is a great site that tourists should see on top of a visit to Inwood Park and the Shorakkopoch Rock where Peter Minuet bought Manhattan from the Indians.

The Muscota Marsh is a one acre public park in the Inwood section of the borough of Manhattan in New York City, on the shore of Spuyten Duyvil Creek, a section of the Harlem River. It is adjacent to the much larger Inwood Hill Park and Columbia University’s Baker Athletics Complex. The park is notable for its views and for its ecological conservation features.

Muscota Marsh is unusual for having both a freshwater marsh and a salt marsh in such a tiny area. Besides attracting plant and animal life, these wetlands are intended to help filter rainwater runoff and thereby improve the water quality of the river. Other facilities include a dock for kayaks and canoes, benches and walking paths. A wooden deck overlooking the river provides views of Inwood Hill Park, the Henry Hudson Bridge and the New Jersey Palisades.

As this public green space, with a design inspired by tidal flats and mud ways, you can enjoy the educational richness of the marsh from the wildlife observation deck or venture out on to a wooden deck stretching out to the waterway through the native water gardens.

Because of the close proximity of the salt marsh and the freshwater wetlands, you’ll be able to spot beautiful wading birds like the great blue heron and the snowy egret. You can also see leopard frogs and ribbed among the dramatic colors and textures of the marsh’s native plants.

Opened to the public in January 2014, the park was constructed by Columbia University as part of a deal to construct the new Campbell Sports Center within its adjacent athletics complex. It was designed by James Corner Field Operations, which is best known for its work on Manhattan’s High Line. It is cooperatively administered by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and Columbia, with the university providing maintenance and security.

The park is open all year round and is free to enter. It is right next to the Columbia Stadium. Check out the big ‘C’ on the cliffs opposite of the river.

Disclaimer: This information was taken from the NYC Parks information guide and Wikipedia. Please check this small pocket park out for its beauty and for its importance in the environment.

Central Park Conservatory Garden Located between 104th and 106th Streets by Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10029

Central Park Conservatory Garden Located between 104th and 106th Streets by Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10029

The Central Park Conservatory Garden

Located between 104th and 106th Streets off Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10029

Hours: Depends on the season and the Dawn to Dusk rule

Fee: Free

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d272517-Reviews-Conservatory_Garden-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

The Central Park Conservatory Garden is the only formal garden in Central Park, New York City and is located approximately between 104th and 106th Street on Fifth Avenue in NYC. The Garden consists of about six acres of formal landscaping of trees, shrubs and flowers. The formal garden is divided into three smaller gardens each with a distinct style: Italian, French and English. The Central Conservatory Garden is an officially designated Quiet Zone and offers a calm and colorful setting for a leisurely stroll and intimate wedding.

It takes its name from a conservatory that stood  on the site from 1898 to 1934. The park’s head gardener used the glasshouses to harden hardwood cuttings for the park’s plantings. After the conservatory was torn down, the garden was designed by Gilmore D. Clarke, landscape architect for Robert Moses, with planting plans by M. Betty Sprout and constructed and planted by WPA workers, it was opened to the public in 1937.

The Garden is composed of three distinct parts, skillfully restored since the 1980’s and is accessible through the Vanderbilt Gate at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street, a quarter south of the park’s northeast corner. The Vanderbilt Gate once gave access to the forecourt of Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s chateau designed by George Browne Post, the grandest of the Fifth Avenue mansions of the Gilded Age, at 58th Street and Fifth Avenue, sharing the Plaza with Plaza Hotel. The wrought iron gates with cast iron and repousse details, were designed by Post and executed in an iron foundry in Paris.

Below the steps flanked by Cornelian cherry, the central section of the Conservatory Garden is a symmetrical lawn outlined in clipped yew, with a single central fountain jet at the rear. It is flanked by twin allees of crabapples and backed by a curved wisteria pergola against the steep natural slope, that is dominated at its skyline by a giant American Sycamore. Otherwise there is no flower color; instead on any fine Saturday afternoon in June, it is a scene of photography sessions for colorful wedding parties for which limousines pull up in rows on Fifth Avenue.

To the left of the south side is the garden of mixed herbaceous borders in wide concentric bands around The Secret Garden water lily pool, dedicated in 1936 to the memory of Frances Hodgson Burnett with sculpture by Bessie Potter Vonnoh. Some large shrubs , like tree lilac, magnolias, buddleias and Cornus alba ‘elegantissima’ provide vertical structure and offer light shade to offset the sunny locations, planted by Lynden Miller with a wide range of hardy perennials and decorative grasses, intermixed with annuals planted to seem naturalized. This  garden has seasonal features to draw visitors from April through October.

To the right of the central formal plat is a garden also in concentric circles, round the Untermyer Fountain, which was donated by the family of Samuel Untermyer in 1947. The bronze figures, Three Dancing Maidens by Walter Schott (1861-1938) were executed in Germany about 1910 and formed a fountain at Utermyer’s estate “Greystone” in Yonkers, New York.

This section of the Conservatory Garden has two dramatic seasons of massed display of tulips in the spring and Korean chrysanthemums in the fall. Beds of satolina clipped in knotted designs with contrasting bronze-leaved bedding begonias surround the fountain and four rose arbor gates are planted with reblooming ‘Silver Moon’ and ‘Betty Prior’ roses.

After the Second World War the garden had become neglected and by the 1970’s became a wasteland. It was restored and partially replanted under the direction of horticulturist and urban landscape designer Lyden Miller to reopen in June 1987. The overgrown, top-heavy crabapples were freed of watershoots and pruned up to a higher scaffold for better form. The high-style mixed planting was the first to bring estate garden style to urban parks, part of the general of Central Park under Elizabeth Barlow Rogers of the Central Park Conservancy.

(This information directly from Wikipedia and has many sources)

Hours of Operation:

November-February (8:00am-5:00pm)

March  (8:00am-6:00pm)

April  (8:00am-7:00pm)

May  (August 14th 8:00am-8:00pm)

August 15-31 (8:00am-7:30pm)

September (8:00am-7:30pm)

http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/#what_lawns-and-landscapes

Dyckman Farmhouse Museum 4881 Broadway at 204th Street New York, New York 10034

Dyckman Farmhouse Museum 4881 Broadway at 204th Street New York, New York 10034

Dyckman Farmhouse

4881 Broadway at 204th Street

New York, NY  10034

(212) 304-9422

info@dyckmanfarmohouse.org

Open: Friday & Saturday-11:00am-4:00pm/Closed Sunday-Thursday

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d108018-Reviews-Dyckman_Farmhouse_Museum-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I visited the Dyckman Farmhouse on day during my walk around the Inwood section of Manhattan and came upon this old farmhouse in the middle of the commercial district by Columbia University’s football field. You have to take the A or the 1 Subway uptown to get there but it is one of the last vestiges of the farming community that once was Manhattan in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. It has been there since the family donated it to the city in 1916. It should not be missed when visiting Manhattan. I wrote more about my trip there in “MywalkinManhattan” blog site.

The Dyckman Farmhouse

4881 Broadway at 204th Street

New York, NY  10034

(212) 304-9422

dyckmanfarmhouse.org

Hours:

Winter Schedule: November-April Friday and Saturday 11:00am-4:00pm

Monday-Thursday Groups by Appointment Only

The Dyckman House, now the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum in the oldest remaining farmhouse on Manhattan island, a remainder of New York City’s rural past. The Dutch Colonial-style farmhouse was built by William Dyckman in 1785. It was originally part of over 250 acres of farmland owned by the family. It was once the center of a thriving farm with fields and orchards of cherry, pear and apple trees. It is now located in a small park at the corner of Broadway and 204th Street in the Inwood section neighborhood of the city.

History and Description

William Dyckman was the grandson of Jan Dyckman, who came to the area from Westphalia in 1661. Jan Dyckman, a shoemaker and another Dutch settler, Jan Nagel purchased much of the land between present 155th Street and the northern tip of the island. Members of the Dyckman and Nagel families lived on the land for three generations until the Revolutionary War broke out.

During the Revolutionary War, the British occupation of Manhattan in 1776-83, the Dyckman’s, like many other patriots, fled the city and did not return until the British had been defeated. When the war ended and the Dyckman’s found their home and orchards had been destroyed, they built a new house on the Kingsbridge Road, now Broadway. They chose this location on a major thoroughfare in order to supplement their income by providing accommodations for travelers on their way to and from Manhattan.

William Dyckman, who inherited the family estate built the current house to replace the family house located on the Harlem River near the present West 210th Street, which he had build in 1748 and which was destroyed in the American Revolutionary War.

The current two-story house is constructed of fieldstone, brick and white clapboard and features a gambrel roof and spring eaves. The porches typical of the Dutch Colonial style but were added in 1825. The house interior has parlors and an indoor (winter) kitchen, with floors of varying-width chestnut wood. The house outdoor smokehouse kitchen, in a small building to the south, may predate the house itself.

The house stayed in the family for several generations until it was sold in 1868, after which it served as a rental property for several decades. By the beginning of the 20th century, the house was in disrepair and in danger of being demolished. Two sisters of the original family and daughters of the last Dyckman child to grow up in the house, Mary Alice Dyckman Dean and Fannie Fredericka Dyckman Welch, began restoration of the farmhouse in 1915-16 under the supervision of architect Alexander M. Welch, the husband of Fannie. They then transferred the ownership of the house to the City of New York in 1916, which opened it as a museum of Dutch and Colonial life, featuring original Dyckman family furnishings.

The farmhouse, which is not only the oldest remaining in Manhattan, but the only one in the Dutch Colonial style and the only 18th century farmhouse in the borough as well. It has New York City Landmark and a National Historic Landmark status since 1967. A major restoration of the house took place in 2003, after which it reopened to the public in the fall of 2005.

*Disclaimer: This information comes from the Historic House Trust and Wikipedia and the NYC Parks System. The site is free to visit and takes less than an hour to visit. During the summer months, it is nice to visit the gardens and property. It is a interesting property to visit and when you are through with your tour, there are many nice Spanish restaurants in the area on Broadway and along 207th Avenue corridor. It is a nice place to walk around and explore.

 

 

 

The Cloisters Museum & Gardens: The Branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to Medieval Art 99 Margaret Corbin Drive Fort Tryon New York, NY 10040

The Cloisters Museum & Gardens: The Branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to Medieval Art 99 Margaret Corbin Drive Fort Tryon New York, NY 10040

The Cloisters Museum & Gardens: A Branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

99 Margaret Corbin Drive

Fort Tryon Park

New York, NY  10040

(212) 923-3700

Open: March-October 10:00am-5:15pm/November-February-10:00am-4:45pm

http://www.metmuseum.org

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d106609-Reviews-The_Met_Cloisters-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

I go to The Cloisters on a pretty regular basis and they have interesting walking tours and lectures especially in the warm months. If you like Medieval or religious art, this is a museum that is worth visiting. It is out of the way and be prepared to walk up a hill but in the summer months, the view of the Hudson River is spectacular and the gardens are beautiful.

The building is just beautiful as it was created from pieces of religious sites all over Europe. Many of the doorways, cloisters (archways), stone work and fountains and windows come from churches that had been destroyed by wars over the past 600 years. Bits and pieces of all of the these buildings are displayed in the architecture of the museum itself. Some are on permanent loan to the museum from foreign countries. Don’t miss the famous “Hunt of the Unicorn” tapestries that are on display here. They are quite a spectacular exhibit.

Be sure to visit the outside terraces of the Cloisters to see the views of the Hudson River below and the beautiful gardens of Fort Tyron Park where the building is located. It is a sea of green lawns and woods and beautifully landscaped flowering paths.

There is a nice café on property but there is also a nice outdoor café in the park as well as a small restaurant row on Dyckman Avenue at the foot of the park right near the subway stop. There are also many terrific Spanish restaurants on Dyckman Street as you walk down the block towards Fort George Hill.

Welcome to The Cloisters, the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. Set on a hilltop with commanding views of the Hudson River. The Cloisters is designed in a style evocative of medieval architecture specifically for the display of masterpiece created during that era. Arranged roughly chronologically and featuring works primarily from Western Europe, the collection includes sculpture, stained glass, tapestries, painting, manuscript illumination and metalwork. The extensive gardens feature medieval plantings, enhancing the evocative environment.

History of the Museum

John D. Rockefeller Jr. generously provided for the building, the setting in Fort Tryon Park and the acquisition of the notable George Grey Barnard Collection, the nucleus of The Cloisters collection. Barnard Collection, the nucleus of The Cloisters collection. Barnard, an American sculptor whose work can be seen in the American Wing of the Metropolitan, traveled extensively in France, where he purchased medieval sculpture and architectural elements often from descendants of citizens who had appropriated objects abandoned during the French Revolution. The architect Charles Collens incorporated these medieval elements into the fabric of The Cloisters, which opened to the public in 1938.

Romanesque Hall

Imposing stone portals from French churches of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries open onto a gallery that features rare Spanish frescoes and French sculpture.

Fuentiduena Chapel

The twelfth-century apse from the church of San Martin at Fuentiduena, Spain and the great contemporary fresco of Christ in Majesty from a church in the Pyrenees Mountains dominate the space. Sculpture from Italy and Spain enriches the chapel, which is the setting for a celebrated concert series.

Saint-Guilhem Cloister

The fine carving of this cloister from the monastery of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert, near Montpellier, harmoniously and playfully adapts the forms of Roman sculpture in a medieval context. The plants depicted in the sculpture, acanthus and palm, are growing in pots near the small fountain. The gallery also features early sculpture from Italy, Islamic Spain and elsewhere in France.

Langon Chapel

Architectural elements from the twelfth-century church of Notre-Dame-du-Bourg at Langon near Bordeaux form the setting for the display of thirteenth-century French stained glass and important Burgundian sculpture in wood and stone.

Pontaut Chapter House

Monks from the Cistercian abbey at Potaut in Aquitaine once gathered for daily meetings in this twelfth-century enclosure known as a chapter house. At the time of its purchase in the 1930’s by a Parisian dealer, the column supports were being used to tether farm animals.

Cuxa Cloister and Garden

The distinctive pink stone of this cloister, featuring capitals carved with wild and fanciful creatures, was quarried in the twelfth century near Canigou in the Pyrenees Mountains for the nearby Benedictine monastery of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa. The typical cloister garden features crossed paths and a central fountain from the neighboring monastery of Saint-Genis-des-Fountaines. Both medieval and modern species of plants are grown in the garden. In winter, the arcades are enclosed and fragrant potted plants fill the walkways.

Early Gothic Hall

With thirteenth-century windows overlooking the Hudson River, the gallery features stained glass from France’s great churches, including Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris. Sculptures and paintings from France, Italy and Spain evoke the great age of cathedrals.

Nine Heroes Tapestries Room

From an original series of nine hangings created about 1400 for a member of the Valois court, the tapestries portray fabled heroes of ancient, Hebrew and Christian history, including the legendary King Arthur. It is among the earliest sets of surviving medieval tapestries.

Unicorn Tapestries Room

With brilliant colors, beautiful landscapes and precise depictions of flora and fauna, these renowned tapestries depicting the hunt and capture of the mythical unicorn are among the most studied and beloved objects at The Cloisters. Probably designed in Paris and woven in Brussels about 1500 for an unknown patron, these hangings blend the secular and sacred worlds of the Middle Ages.

Boppard Room

Stained glass from the fifteenth-century Camelite convent at Boppard-am-Rhein dominates one end of the room. Fifteenth-century panel paintings and sculpture from the Rhineland and northern Spain, a brass lectern, domestic furniture, Spanish lusterware, tapestries, metalwork and sculpture further evoke a sacred space.

Merode Room

One of the most celebrated early Netherlandish paintings in the world, the Merode Altarpiece, painted in Tournai about 1425-30, forms the centerpiece of this gallery. The altarpiece, intended for the private prayers of its owners, represents the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary taking place in a fifteenth-century household. Details of the scene are echoed in the late medieval furnishings of the room in which other works made for private devotion are also exhibited.

Late Gothic Hall

Large fifteenth-century limestone windows from the refectory of the former Dominican monastery in Sens, France, illuminate the hall, which showcases sculpture and altarpieces from Germany, Italy and Spain as well as a great tapestry from Burgos Cathedral.

Gothic Chapel

Beneath richly colored stained-glass windows from fourteenth-century Austria carved images from royal and noble tombs of France and Spain fill the chapel-like setting.

Glass Gallery

Silver-stained glass roundels decorate the windows of the Glass Gallery, complementing small works of art, many made for secular use, with their lively, sometimes worldly subjects. Carved woodwork from a house in Abbeville, in northern France, forms a backdrop for paintings and sculpture.

“Bonnefont” Cloister and Garden

Long thought to be part of the abbey at Bonnefont-en-Comminges, the elements of this cloister come instead from other monasteries in the region including a destroyed monastery in Tarbes. The herb garden contains more than 250 species cultivated in the Middle Ages. Its raised beds, wattle fences and central wellhead are characteristic of a medieval monastic garden.

Trie Cloister and Garden

The stone cloister elements were created primarily for the Carmelite convert at Trie-sur-Baise in the Pyrenees. The garden is planted with medieval species to evoke the millefleurs background of medieval tapestries, such as the Unicorn series.

Treasury

An array of precious objects in gold, silver, ivory and silk reflects the wealth of medieval churches. Illuminated manuscripts testify to the piety and taste of royal patrons such as Jeanne d’Evreux, Queen of France; jewelry and a complete set of fifteenth-century playing cards suggest more worldly pastimes.

Museum Hours:

Hours: Open 7 days a week

March-October 10:00am-5:15pm

November-February 10:00am- 4:45pm

Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25th and January 1st.

*Some galleries may be closed for construction or maintenance.

*Disclaimer: This information is taken right from the Cloisters pamphlet from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Please call the museum before visiting to see if anything has changed with the hours or days open. It is well worth the trip uptown to visit The Cloisters. Take the A subway up to 190th Street and take the elevator up to Fort Tryon Park and walk across the park.

 

 

 

The Amiable Child Memorial 554 Riverside Drive at West 124th Street, New York, NY 10027

The Amiable Child Memorial 554 Riverside Drive at West 124th Street, New York, NY 10027

The Amiable Child Memorial

554 Riverside Drive at West 124th Street

New York, NY 10027

Open: 6:00am-1:00am

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/riversidepark/monuments/1206

I stumbled across the Amiable Child Memorial over the summer when I was walking Riverside Drive for “MywalkinManhattan” project (see walking 155th Street) and came across this small memorial when I was passing Grant’s Tomb. It is off to the side on the path by the woods. It is a small monument and very humbling in its look. It is a small urn on a pedestal marking a grave of a small child surrounded by a fence. I got the following information from the NYC Parks Department website when I wanted to know more about the site:

This unique New York City monument marks the site of one of the few private graves on public land within the five boroughs. It belongs to St. Claire Pollock (the namesake of nearby St. Claire Place), a child who died on July 15, 1797 in the fifth year of his life, probably from a fall from the cliffs of the parkland onto the rocks near the Hudson River.

In the two centuries that have passed since the tragedy of the “Amiable Child” as he was described on his headstone-different accounts of St. Claire origins and family have persisted. George Pollock, the owner of the property on which the boy was buried, was either his father or his uncle. He was a linen merchant of Scots-Irish or possibly English descent, who lived in a mansion on Strawberry Hill (later called Claremont) in the 1790’s. He  had sold his property to Mrs. Cornelia Verplanck, his former neighbor, by January 18, 1800 when he wrote as follows:

“There is a small enclosure near your boundary fence within which lie the remains of a favorite child, covered by a marble monument. You will confer a peculiar and interesting favor upon me by allowing me to convey the enclosure to you so that you will consider its part of your own estate, keeping it however always enclosed and sacred.”

Claremont Hill was the site of the Battle of Harlem Heights, fought during the Revolutionary War on September 16, 1776. By 1806, it had been acquired by Michael Hogan, a former British Consul in Havana, who built Claremont Mansion (for which Claremont Avenue was named). Possible sources for the name are Hogan’s birthplace of County Clare, Ireland and his friend Prince William, Duke of Clarence, who would ascend the English throne as King William IV in 1830. Known as the site of a popular roadside inn by 1860, Claremont was acquired by the City from the heirs of Joel Post in 1873 for the development of Riverside Park.

In the 1890’s, Claremont Inn was host to numerous politicians, socialites and entertainers including the Morgan’s, Vanderbilt’s and Whitney’s, Lillian Russell and Admiral George Dewey. By 1907, the Inn had been transformed into a restaurant, serving the likes of Cole Porter and James J. Walker. It was destroyed by fire in 1950. The playground which now stands on the site was built shortly afterwards.

A century after the Tomb of the Amiable Child was laid, New York’s most famous monumental grave-Grant’s Tomb-was completed. The domed structure across Riverside Drive, designed by architect John Duncan and sculptor John Massey Rhind, was dedicated on April 27, 1897. The later structure is as grand a testimony to the accomplishments of national leader as the monument to the amiable child is a modest and touching tribute to a young boy who never had the opportunity to grow into adulthood. This monument was dedicated on May 3, 1967 (www.nycgovparks.org/parks/riverside-park/mounments/1206).

*You really have to look off the beaten path to see this unique little memorial but it is very touching and soulful. Take the time when visiting the neighborhood to visit this very touching site. You will find it by the path behind Grant’s Tomb.

Look for more sculptures  by looking at the Parks website http://www.nycgovparks.org.