Riverbank State Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:679 Riverside Drive, Manhattan, NY
Hours:6:30 A.M. to 10 P.M. weekdays, 6:30 A.M. to 5 P.M. weekends
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: Aquatics complex
Water/Snacks: Water fountains throughout park; the reasonably priced Tian Restaurant at the northern edge of park

Riverbank State Park, among the newest and most popular of the New York State parks, features a variety of outdoor athletic activities and offers community gardening.

Visitors can enjoy views of the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan's only state park.
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

Riverbank State Park is a quintessential “only in New York” destination. It is a 28-acre landmass built atop a sewage treatment facility on the Hudson River. Have space? Will use. Since opening in 1993, Riverbank—the only state park in Manhattan—has become one of the most popular parks in the state system.

Modeled after Japanese rooftop parks and gardens, Riverbank has several acres of “green roofs,” or soil laid out in varying depths to support flora. It is the largest such roof in New York City. The treatment plant below it processes 125 million gallons of wastewater every day during dry weather, while emitting no odors. The park is part of a movement to renovate urban spaces to make them more sustainable, and to promote a healthy environment; it is the only park of its kind in the western hemisphere.

From a vantage roughly 70 feet above the Hudson River, Riverbank offers sweeping views of the New Jersey shoreline due east, and vistas of Manhattan’s own shoreline to the south and north, up to the George Washington Bridge and beyond. To get the lay of the land, enter at either West 137th or West 145th Street and take the promenade along the perimeter of the park. Playgrounds and outdoor courts are near the southern entrance, and several major athletic buildings are toward the north. Among the amenities (with small fees) are an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a fitness room, various ball courts, and a covered rink for roller-skating in warm weather and ice-skating during winter. Just south of the rink is a community gardening area.

As a special treat, visit the merry-go-round at the park’s northeastern corner. Its design was inspired by children’s artwork.

Remember: Bicycles and pets are prohibited within the park.

Plan B:

Hike north on the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway (Trip 6) to see the George Washington Bridge up close, or south for a respite at the General Grant National Memorial (Trip 17).


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