Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Walking in the City - West Side Monuments and Sculptures, Riverside Park South, NY

One of my favorite activities in Manhattan is walking by the river. Nowadays, it is possible to walk almost all around the island via either park or greenway, enjoying river views on one side and the cityscape on the other. One of the newest stretches of the river walk is through Riverside Park South which runs from 59th Street to 72nd Street on the west side and offers not only great views but some interesting sights as well.

At the entrance to the park at 72nd Street there is a impressive monument by sculptor Penelope Jencks honoring Eleanor Roosevelt.

Three blocks south there's a historic site of a very different nature. 

The 69th st Transfer Bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Originally used to transfer boxcars from the rail line to car floats in order to get them across the Hudson River, the bridge fell into disuse as rail transport declined and was in danger of being demolished until it was decided it was of historical significance. Some residents of nearby luxury apartment towers consider it an eyesore and would still like to see it torn down.

Often on repeat walks you see the same sights over and over again until you barely notice they are there, but at Riverside Park South they've come up with a way to ensure there is always something new to see. The Art Students League of New York has a program called Model to Monuments which trains artists to produce work for public spaces. The resultant sculptures are displayed for one year in Riverside Park South (from June to May) and then replaced with the latest crop of students' work. 
By chance, I first noticed the sculptures in May. 

Flow 1 - Cascade by Sukyung Kim (Kimhan)

Untitled by Donat King

Can love pervade space? by Ken Shih

Which meant that on a later visit in June, sure enough, they had all been replaced.

Everyone Breaks - Tanda Francis

Stand Tall - Aaron Bell


Everything Between - Sarah Thompson-Moore

Fragments - Shiho Sato

What a great idea in terms of providing an outlet for artists' work and giving the public a change of scenery. On the two days I visited, the exhibitions were attracting a great deal of attention from passersby.  

However, of all the sights on offer,I think the most fun is this one at 55th Street:

Private Passage - Malcolm Cochran

Called the Private Passage, it may look like a wine bottle on its side, but the interior is furnished as a state room on the Queen Mary! I have to say, that was the last thing I was expecting to see when I peered through the portholes - although maybe the portholes should have given me a clue. 

Interior - Private Passage

Interior - Private Passage

With its broad walkways, landscaped surroundings, and plenty of places to sit and admire the views and the sculptures, Riverside Park South is an ideal place to while away a pleasant day and take in some art while getting fresh air and exercise.


  1. I love the idea of giving sculpture artists a venue to show off their work for a year at a time! I haven't been to Manhattan in years. Nice photos, Mel. Thanks for sharing your walk with us.

    1. It's a great idea, isn't it, which works well on both sides. It gives the artists more chance of getting their work out on display and it provides variety for the visitors. Thanks for dropping by, Jenni.

  2. Fascinating, Mel. Thanks for bringing us along on your walk. Showcasing the art along the river is brilliant.