I'd been wanting to check out Riverside Park for a while now, but it turns out that today, I only got to see a little sliver of it.
The park itself is bisected by highway 9A, which splits the park into a riverside greenway and a more forested park along Riverside Drive in upper Manhattan.
I stuck by the water. Walking along the Manhattan side of the Hudson River is like gazing through a window into the rest of the world. Everytime I looked up to my left, I felt the claustrophobia of the city closing in on me. By the river, the boats, the driftwood, with the sun burning my exposed right ear, I felt...open.
This is one of the few outdroppings of driftwood that hadn't been piled up into a tower by someone feeling particularly artistic.
The farther south you go - and the farther away from Harlem - the nicer it gets on the greenway, with lots of landscaping and plenty of green despite the proximity to the highway.
And then the park itself splits off from the original shoreline into an artificial boardwalk.
Past the 79th Street Boat Basin, the park starts to get really nice, reflecting the increasingly high caliber of local residents.
Ornamental grasses are planted along a memorial lawn, with interpretive historical signs pointing out the former railyards site and even some deteriorating ruination, including...
an old gantry...
and a crumbled steel structure that succumbed to a 1971 fire at the old Pier D, clearly visible from the highway.
There are some other historical markers for the various points of freight and passenger railway history, and even an old New York Central train car on display. It's a fascinating visit for anyone who also likes Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, or even The High Line.
Like those parks, there are plenty of places to stretch out in the sun - either on a bench, chair, stool, rock, pier, or lawn. It's also bike-, pedestrian-, and rollerblade-friendly.
And even though the nearby West Side Highway is rumbling beside or above you as you stroll along, you can forget about the city for just a little while...
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