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Development[ edit ] Riverside Drive was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted as part of his concept for Riverside Park ; the acres 0.
The first proposal to convert the riverside precipice into a park was contained in a pamphlet written by William R. Martin, a parks commissioner, in Ina bill introduced into the Legislature by commissioner Andrew Green was approved, the first segment of park was acquired through condemnation inand construction began.
At the same time, Riverside Drive was being developed as a scenic parkway. Olmsted drew up the plan for the joint Riverside Park and Riverside Drive project.
Afterward, several architects started work on the project. Based on Central Parkthe new project consisted of "a tree-lined driveway curving around the valleys and rock outcroppings and overlooking the [ Hudson ] river". From toarchitects and horticulturalists such as Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons laid out the stretch of park and road between 72nd and th Streets according to the English gardening ideal, creating the appearance that the park was an extension of the Hudson River Valley.
Primary construction of the project was completed in about It was so skillfully done that many believe the park and road are set on a natural slope.
The 'park' was nothing but a vast low-lying mass of dirt and mud. Unpainted, rusting, jagged wire fences along the tracks barred the city from its waterfront The engines that pulled trains along the tracks burned coal or oil; from their smokestacks a dense black smog rose toward the apartment houses, coating windowsills with grit Though scaled down, the project is still the second biggest private real estate venture under construction in New York City.
Only a few stretches of Riverside Drive were built along an older road; due to the hilly terrain, Riverside Drive crosses a natural cleft in the bedrock at 87th Street on an iron viaduct and passes over 96th StreetTiemann Place and th Streetand th Street on further viaducts.
At Tiemann Place and th Street, and at th Street, an old alignment is present, also named Riverside Drive, while the viaduct portion or main route is officially named and signed "Riverside Drive West".
Inthe retaining wall of Castle Village collapsed onto both Riverside Drive and the northbound lanes of the Henry Hudson Parkway.
North of th Street the right of way which currently carries the name Riverside Drive was known as Boulevard Lafayette, which led to Plaza Lafayette in Hudson Heights. The section exiting the parkway at the Dyckman Street exit and ending at Broadway is still known as Riverside Drive.
Riverside Park Manhattan Riverside Park, part of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenwayis a scenic waterfront public park on a narrow 4 miles 6. It is approximately The new Riverside Park South, stretching between 72nd and 59th streets, is the central element of the Riverside South development.
Portions of the former rail yard, such as the New York Central Railroad 69th Street Transfer Bridgeare incorporated into the new park.
The viaduct proper was made of open hearth medium steel, comprising twenty-six spans, or bays, whose hypnotic repetition is much appreciated from underneath at street level. The south and north approaches are of rock-faced Mohawk Valley limestone with Maine granite trimmings, the face work being of coursed ashlar.
The girders over Manhattan Street now th Street were the largest ever built at the time.
The broad plaza effect of the south approach was designed to impart deliberate grandeur to the natural terminus of much of Riverside Drive's traffic as well as to give full advantage to the vista overlooking the Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades to the west.
Stuart Williamson was the chief engineer for the viaduct, which constituted a feat of engineering technology. Despite the viaduct's important utilitarian role as a highway, the structure was also a strong symbol of civic pride, inspired by America's late 19th-century City Beautiful movement.
The viaduct's original roadway, wide pedestrian walks and overall design were sumptuously ornamented, creating a prime example of public works that married form and function. An issue of the Scientific American magazine in remarked that the Riverside Drive Viaduct's completion afforded New Yorkers "a continuous drive of ten miles along the picturesque banks of the Hudson and Harlem Rivers.
Buildings and monuments[ edit ] Firemen's Memorial at th Street The eastern side of Riverside Drive, once a series of luxuriously finished rowhouses interspersed with free-standing nineteenth century mansions set in large lawns, today is lined with luxury apartment buildings and some remaining town houses from 72nd to th Streets.
Schwabformerly the grandest and most ambitious house ever built on the island of Manhattan. Among the more eye-catching apartment houses are the curved facades of The Colosseum and The Paterno and the Cliff-Dwellers Apartments at 96th Street, with mountain lions and buffalo skulls on its friezes.
Notable residents[ edit ] Marian Andersoncontralto and one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century; lived at Riverside Drive. Robert Oppenheimer and his family lived at Riverside Drive on 88th Street.GRAMMY U Explores Civil Rights Radio: Music As Politics.
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