Carl Schurz Park, A Unique Space Tucked Away in New York City
Views of Carl Shurz Park, up River from Roosevelt Island
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About Carl Schurz Park
Carl Schurz Park in New York City
Of several welcoming spaces you probably missed while visiting New York City, Carl Schurz Park, located at the intersection of Eighty-fourth Street and East End Avenue in Yorkville, may be the most spectacular.
You can take a video walking tour below.
The views up and down the East River, from a promontory above Hell Gate, where this river – which is not really a river at any point – splits off toward Long Island Sound and, by way of the Harlem River – also not a river – the Hudson, which farther upstream does become an actual river.
(The Harlem and East Rivers are actually tidal straits, water connections to the ocean without sources or outlets.)
Unless seriously pressed for time while visiting New York City, try to find time to enjoy Carl Schurz Park.
The Harlem and East Rivers are extensions of New York Harbor, inlets on the great Atlantic where the currents change with the tides.
Standing above the turbulent confluence of waters, known as Hell Gate for the dangers once posed to navigators, a visitor can watch the current slow, pause, then reverse direction.
Carl Schurz Park
The park itself, tucked into the Yorkville section of Manhattan, was named for a German revolutionary who, migrating to the United States, had a distinguished record in the Civil War, then as a politician. Schurz moved to New York to become a journalist in 1881.
Schurz died in 1906, and the park was named after him in 1910.
Curving lanes and gentle ravines mark the park. There are many open spaces for sunbathing and for games and plentiful benches. The sounds of the city seem to recede most when a visitor relaxes deep inside one of the parks' ravines.
On the west side, aligned with the East River, a broad, boardwalk-like promenade is full of people on weekends. Dog walkers pass, often pausing to enjoy the small, but fun-filled dog runs.
Joggers weave through foot traffic, and many sit and watch the currents and boats on the river below.
It's interesting to note that the promenade is actually the top of one of the covered sections of busy FDR drive which runs from here all the way down to the Brooklyn Bridge at the south end of Manhattan island.
Except in times of frustrated traffic or the passing of emergency vehicles, the cars and trucks are easily ignored.
The Home of New York City's Mayors, Carl Schurz Park
Gracie Mansion, named for an early settler who built the building, is the official residence of the city's mayor.
Well-known residents included Jimmy Walker, portrayed by Bob Hope in the movie, Beau James, Fiorello LaGuardia, John Lindsay, Ed Koch, David Dinkins, Rudy Giuliani and now Bill DiBlasio, but not Michael Bloomberg who owns a much more sumptuous pad elsewhere.
Gracie Mansion is managed separately from the park and offers tours on Wednesdays at 10 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM and 2 PM.
General admission is $7 for adults, $4 for seniors, and students are admitted free of charge. Tours last approximately forty-five minutes.
For a relaxing afternoon or, for the adventurous, watching a sunrise, Carl Schurz Park is unparalleled.
A current list of events, including an outstanding art and craft fair held each October, a film festival and free concerts can be found at The Carl Schurz Park Foundation website.
The New Normal: Fine Art Photography in Carl Schurz Park
"Impromptu" in Carl Schurz Park
A Casual Walking Tour of Carl Schurz Park
Visit New York City, Carl Schurz Park
© 2010 David Stone
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