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Fodor's New York City 2014
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Riverside Park Review
Surrounded by concrete and skyscrapers all day, you might not realize that there is an expansive green space running along the water just blocks away. Riverside Park—which, along with the Riverside Park South extension, runs along the Hudson from 58th to 156th streets—dishes out a dose of tranquillity. The original sections of Riverside Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Law and Calvert Vaux of Central Park fame and laid out between 1873 and 1888, are outshone by Olmsted's "other" park—Central Park—but with its waterfront bike and walking paths and lighter crowds, this green space more than holds its own.
There are several access points to the park, including one at West 72nd Street and Riverside Drive (look for the statue of Eleanor Roosevelt) where you'll reach the waterfront path after heading through an underpass beneath the West Side Highway. You can then head north along the Hudson River, past the 79th Street Boat Basin, where you can watch a flotilla of houseboats bobbing in the water. Above it, a ramp leads to the Rotunda, home in summer to the Boat Basin Café, a dog-friendly open-air café that's open for lunch and dinner in the warmer months (from about March through October). The 91st Street Garden, planted by community gardeners, explodes with flowers in most seasons and is a level up from the water: leave the waterside path near 92nd Street by taking another underpass and then heading up the path on the right. To the south, cresting a hill along Riverside Drive at West 89th Street, stands the Civil War Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument (1902), an imposing 96-foot-high circle of white-marble columns designed by Paul M. Duboy, who also designed the Ansonia Hotel – a once-famous residential hotel (now an apartment building) on Broadway and West 74th Street. In fall 2014, construction will begin on the city's greenest toilets at an abandoned parking lot above Riverside Park's clay tennis courts at West 96th Street. As well as bringing needed restrooms to the area—solar-powered composting toilets, no less—the $6 million project will also add a solar-powered park maintenance facility and transform the parking lot into a wildflower meadow.
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