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Morningside Park, New York City

#33 of 76 in Parks in New York City
Park · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Morningside Park is a 30-acre (12-hectare) public park in Upper Manhattan, New York City. The park is bounded by 110th Street to the south, 123rd Street to the north, Morningside Avenue to the east, and Morningside Drive to the west. It contains a cliff of Manhattan schist separating the neighborhood of Morningside Heights, atop the western side of the cliff, from Harlem. The park also includes several rock outcroppings; a man-made ornamental pond and waterfall; three sculptures; several athletic fields; playgrounds; and an arboretum. The facilities are operated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

The area near Morningside Park was originally known as "Muscota" by the Lenape Native Americans. The park was first proposed by the Central Park commissioners in 1867, and the city commissioned Central Park's designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux to produce a design for the park in 1873. Though Jacob Wrey Mould was hired to design new plans in 1880, little progress occurred until Olmsted and Vaux were asked to modify the plans following Mould's death in 1886.

Several monuments were installed in the park following its completion in 1895. Recreational facilities such as softball diamonds, basketball courts, and playgrounds were installed between the 1930s and 1950s. After Columbia proposed building a gym in the park in 1963, major student protests arose in 1968, resulting in the eventual abandonment of the plan. In the late 20th century, Morningside Park gained a reputation for high crime rates, and various groups devised plans to renovate the park. The proposed site of the Columbia gym was turned into a waterfall and pond in 1990, and the park's arboretum was added in 1998.

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Morningside Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
58 reviews
  • While in NYC we attended a festival in the park called the Harlem Eat Up Food Festival. This was a great event that was world class. We plan on returning next year to be a part of such a grand event  more »
  • My children have a good time playing in the park. The park has equipment to help build their motor skills. Also parents are in the park WITH their children.
  • Cute park to take the kids for an afternoon activity in the city. But, as with every other city park, the bathroom is undesirable, there are no workers around, and the homeless use the park and bathroons as their homes. This speaks more about the homeless problem in NYC rather than anything else. But the playground area is clean enough to bring the kids. Just make sure they use the bathroom before you go and once is time to hydrate ( and this will happen fast since the play area is totally exposed to the sun) you are ready to head out....unless you don't mind city park public bathrooms.

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