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From the Waterfront to Joan of Arc: Locating the Past in Riverside Park

Riverside Park, New York’s historic and revered park on the western edge of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, presents a complexity of routes for exploration. Walking a sunny path next to the Hudson River can connect the explorer to the timelessness and tranquility of the water. A walk through the interior of the leafy park is perfect for the naturalist intent on observations of trees and plants. A walk along the higher ground near Riverside Drive is recommended for historians, as dozens of memorials richly illustrate the concerns and values of New Yorkers over the decades. Yes, please, we want all of the above.


A full picture of Riverside Park requires walking back and forth among the tiered slopes, so the walk is less a straight line and more a meandering path. Walking along the water here (increasing biking and running are the main pursuits) may be excellent for exercise and recreation, but much is missed in terms of New York history. As the city continues to revamp the waterfront…

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