Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Riverside Drive at 103rd Street

 This is looking north from the top of the stairs at 103rd street just after the completion of the retaining wall, around 1880.

 This is looking south from the same vantage point.

 This is looking south as well. The park as we now it today did not exist until the designs of the West Side Improvement were executed. This project, spearheaded by Robert Moses, the notorious power broker, covered over the New York Central tracks and created the West side Highway. This also created all the ball fields between the highway and the western wall of the "tunnel" covering the tracks. A great deal of the landfill came from the independent subway construction (the dirt had to go somewhere), other construction projects of the day as well as municipal refuse.

 The structures on the river are at 96th street. There was a large coal dock in addition to the U.S.S. Illinois, a battleship launched in 1898, served in World War I, refitted the Naval Reserve Midshipmen Training School after being excluded from service. It was moored at 96th street until the improvements were in place. It was finally scrapped in 1956.

 Although the park was substantially altered during the 1930's, there are some recognizable features. I believe that the path that veers off to the left toward the river is now the path that leads down to the promenade and the dog run at 105th. The path that heads north is still there and ends north of 116th street.

 The path that is here now winds down to the promenade ending next to the dog run. Now there is park and highway where those boats are moored.

 This is again Riverside Park at 103rd street looking north from the top of the stairs next to the 1879 stone wall. This time it looks like winter and it appears to be the very early 1920's.
This is part of the same series. The path next to the train tracks was probably located just a little east of the promenade that is now over the tracks. The park had a great deal of re-landscaping during the Westside Improvement Project and the tracks were covered, not moved. The field to the west of the tracks is landfill that will very soon be the West Side Highway, the ball fields and the swing rings at Hudson beach.