Riverside Park

Discovering Riverside Park’s History, Geography, and Future


This page is dedicated to discovering the intricate history of the Riverside Park which runs along the Hudson River on Manhattan’s west side. Our research will explore how the park came to exist, the historical geographical landscape and species, the environmental changes it experienced and then finally how we would better reconcile the demands of humans and nature. We hope our use of photographs, text, and analysis help you develop a perspective on the influences that have affected this park which we cherish so much today.

Riverside Park Today

Riverside Park runs along four miles from 59th Street to 158th Street. The lower portion of the park which runs from 72nd Street to 59th Street is known as Riverside Park South. The area the entire park covers totals 330 acres. Since it’s beginning, Riverside Park has developed many amenities to accommodate the many residents of the neighborhoods in the area. Just about any kind of entertainment you seek can be found within Riverside’s extensive stretch of land. Some of the amenities include the following:

  • Basketball Courts

    Map from New York City Open Accessible Space Information System (OASIS

  • Ball Fields
  • Tennis Courts
  • Volleyball Courts
  • Dog Run
  • Community Gardens
  • Cafes
  • Running Tracks
  • Handball Courts
  • Kayak Launches
  • Skate Parks
  • Playgrounds and countless more facilities!

The Information We Shall Cover

But as compassionate individuals, we cannot simply enjoy the park’s amenities and not wonder how this park was developed. Various park commissioners invested their time to plan and create innovative ideas so that we may enjoy the park today. Thus, we must pay tribute to these respectable individuals as well as take note of the species that once dwelled in the area.

First we will explore the environment of the Riverside Park area in 1609 when the area was more natural as this was before the European settlement. This information will be based on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Manhatta Project, which composes a decade’s worth of research from 1999-2009. Through this extensive resource, we will take a look at the landscape, the mammals and the plants that historically inhabited the area. Next we examine the decisions that led to the creation of the park and the different park commissioners and architects who contributed designs. Our research will move from the Industrial Age to the recent addition of the Riverside Park South.

Then, we will move on to the park’s present wildlife and examine the importance of this green space in such an urbanized city. Lastly, we will speak about some proposals that have been made to integrate the demands of people with the park as well as the demands of species with nature. We will share official proposals and plans as well as our ideas for what should be done. Together, the research will help illustrate the image of what the Riverside Park area was before, is today as well as our hopes for its future.


We are a group of Macaulay Honors students who are completing this project for our Seminar III class on the environmental studies of New York City.

  • Arias, Maxilia
  • Ho, Claudia
  • Hussian, Sarah
  • Railova, Svetlana

Leave a Reply