- READER REVIEWS
Daily, 24 hours
Nearby Subway Stops
B, C at Cathedral Pkwy./110th St.; B, C at 116th St.
- Street Parking
Spanning almost 30 acres and acting as a border between Harlem and Morningside Heights, Morningside Park is one of the hilliest areas in Manhattan. In fact, the land was deemed parkland in the 1860s because it was considered too steep for roads. Construction began on the park in 1883 and Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux—Central Park’s famed creators—consulted on the design and plant and tree varieties. The park also features statues sculpted in the early 1900s of Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington and Carl Schurz. During the ‘70s Morningside Park fell into dangerous disrepair and New Yorkers often walked around rather than through it for fear of being mugged. In the ‘80s, a community-based organization named Friends of Morningside Park was formed to restore the park to its former glory and also add new attractions like the Dr. Thomas Kiel Arboretum, a small memorial garden planted with magnolias and buttercups in honor of the group’s late founder. Today the rest of the park’s wide-open spaces and recreational facilities are used by neighborhood denizens, particularly students from nearby Columbia University. Basketball courts and softball diamonds can be found in the eastern and southern regions and there’s also a small playground. In the summer months, the picnic area is crammed with locals barbecuing and soaking up the sun.The Waterfall
A gym for Columbia students was originally intended for this spot, but when the community opposed it in 1968, the plans were axed. In 1989 the excavated area was converted into a waterfall and half-acre pond, and it's now the jewel in the crown of Morningside Park. Turtles, fish and birds, including a lone egret live there.
Tours led by Friends of Morningside Park are free, but must be prearranged. Call 212-937-3883 for more information.