Morningside Park Highlights | TopView

Morningside Park

Location: W 110 St to W 123 St, Manhattan Ave to Morningside Ave, New York, NY 10026

Morningside Park NYC is one of the city’s can’t-miss parks. Its location in Northern Manhattan puts it in proximity to other popular attractions Columbia University, Riverside Park, the Apollo Theater, St. Nicholas Park and Central Park’s northern tip.

Morningside Park NYC is a narrow strip that stretches 13 blocks through the neighborhoods of Harlem and Morningside Heights. Morningside Park New York blends dramatic landscaping with the pleasures of a community park. The hillside park features multiple playgrounds, breath-taking views, and winding paths bordered with flowers and trees that lead to a cascading waterfall. You can often find local teams playing on its baseball fields and local farmers selling goods in the outdoor markets on Saturdays.

Morningside New York is named for the sunny eastern side of the cliff that separates Morningside Heights from Harlem and is one of four designated Historic Harlem Parks. The other three parks are Marcus Garvey, St. Nicholas, and Jackie Robinson Parks.

Morningside Park NYC History 

In 1867, Andrew Haswell Green, Commissioner and Comptroller of Central Park, suggested that a new park should be added to the Morningside Heights neighborhood as he believed that it would be both “expensive” and “inconvenient” to extend the Manhattan street grid due to the area’s steep topography. Landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux (co-designers of Central and Prospect Parks) submitted a proposal for the park in 1873 that was ultimately rejected!

Fourteen years after their original proposal was rejected, Olmsted and Vaux were hired in 1887 to continue improvements to Morningside Park. They planted vegetation that was tolerant of the parks severe topography and created two paths—one broad, one meandering—traversing the lower portion of the park.

Working as a consultant, Vaux saw Morningside Park NYC through to completion in 1895, the year he unfortunately drowned in Gravesend Bay. Parks Superintendent Samuel Parsons Jr. wrote of Vaux’s work at Morningside Park as ". the most consummate piece of art” that Vaux had ever created.

Morningside Park NYC’s design evolved throughout the 20th century. Monuments installed in and around the park included Lafayette and Washington in 1900 by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, the Carl Schurz Memorial in 1913 by Karl Bitter and Henry Bacon, and the Seligman (Bear and Faun) Fountain in 1914 by Edgar Walter. Playgrounds, basketball courts, and softball fields were constructed in the eastern and southern parts of Morningside Park between the 1930s and the 1950s.

The construction of a large gymnasium in Morningside Park NYC In 1968 was halted due to student and community protests. The gym was intended to be used by Columbia University and the public but in 1989-90, the gym’s excavated foundation crater was instead converted into an ornamental pond and waterfall. This was part of a $5 million park renovation from 110th to 114th Streets. This effort also included installing new play equipment and picnic area, as well as new tree planting and rebuilding the ballfields.

Visit Morningside Park NYC 

If you’d like to visit Morningside Park, just hop on our Uptown and Harlem tour and hop off at Stop #22 Morningside Heights. It’s a short walk from there.



Get to Morningside Park with our
NYC Sightseeing Pass 48 Hours (48 hours)
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This page was edited by Steven Thomas