Sunday, June 14, 2009

Carl Schurz Park


Unfortunately, like many old coastal cities, as New York City grew over the centuries its waterfront property was never appreciated for its leisure or visual potential but for its industrial value in shipping. When the city's perfectly protected harbors ceased to be its main raison d'etre, Manhattan's coastline never shook its grimy industrial past from its shores. Instead of the most coveted apartments lining the peripheral with stunning waterfront views, the best addresses tend to cluster within the center of the island (think 5th Ave.). Gas stations, parking lots and highways ring the outer avenues. Such a waste of beautiful waterfront land!

But there are a few areas that reclaim waterfront views. One of these places is the lovely Carl Schurz Park. Originally built to surround Gracie Mansion (the mayor's official residence), the park is a charming garden oasis tucked away in the far upper east side.

Not willing to lose its riverside front row seat to the FDR, the park cleverly bridges over the highway the entire length of the park, completely hiding the FDR below and providing the park visitor with panoramic East River views. The park is built on various levels with connecting paths, stone foot bridges and stairs winding through beautiful volunteer-tended flower gardens.

So the next sunny afternoon you find yourself heading up to Central Park with a book and picnic blanket, head just a little farther up and a little farther east and explore this smaller but quite unique park perched on the edge of the East River. The park runs from 84th street to 90th street, east of East End Ave.

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