Saturday, July 19, 2008

Manhattan's Hidden Treasures: Morningside Park Provides 30 Unexpected Acres Of Green

Manhattan's Hidden Treasures: Morningside Park Provides 30 Unexpected Acres Of Green
As NY1’s week-long celebration of Manhattan’s best-kept secrets draws to a close, Borough Reporter Rebecca Spitz filed the following report on Morningside Park, a green oasis in Harlem.

In the shadow of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine lies the divine Morningside Park, 30 unexpected acres of green that were designated a historical landmark just this week.

"With the designation as a scenic landmark, this park will remain intact and all of its essential features basically as long as one can imagine -- that is to say, forever," said Landmarks Commissioner Robert Tierney.

Designed by renowned Central Park architects Fredrick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, Morningside Park lies between 110th and 123rd Streets, between Morningside Drive and Manhattan and Morningside Avenues. It is lush land and winding walkways as far as the eye can see.

"The topography gives one the opportunity to get a view of Manhattan and a view of the entire city, in fact, from all kinds of perspectives," said Tierney.

From a perch on the top of the park, there are unparalleled views of Morningside Heights and Harlem.

Descending the majestic staircases into the park, visitors can find a world that couldn't be further from the city's hustle and bustle. "You pretty much lose yourself in the park, which makes you feel like you're not in New York, which is a good thing," said a park visitor.

The park’s waterfall is a natural draw, as are the park's softball fields, playgrounds and picnic tables.

"Look at it, it's beautiful,” said another visitor. “You've got the pond, you've got the waterfall, everything is beautiful, you can plant flowers and everything. I love it."

New Yorkers know a thing or two about people-watching, but in Morningside Park, they can practice turtle-watching.

"There's like at least five or six of them, and they sunbathe sometimes out on the rocks. It's nice," said another visitor.

But if reptiles aren't your passion, there are plenty of other things to see and to do: "I come out to practice, maybe basketball or football, whatever the case may be,” said a local. “But it's great place to be."

- Rebecca Spitz

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