The Serpentine Promenade

Most people know Riverside Park on the Hudson River in Manhattan.

Riverside Park, Manhattan, New York

But not many beyond us locals know about a spot where there used to be railroad tracks between the current Riverside Drive and Westside Highway. It’s one of my favorite park spaces in the Metro area, the Serpentine Promenade.

The two ends of the Serpentine Promenade

It runs along the eastern edge of the West Side Highway, but that only provides background white noise for the promenade over 100 feet above it. You can reach it from Riverside Drive almost anywhere from 79th to 95th Street, but it actually extends from 83rd to 91st Street, and the most scenic entrance from the riverside path is at 83rd Street, which after you go through a tunnel under the highway, gives you a choice of going right up the stairs to the southern end or left up the ramp to the middle.

The winding path toward the southern end of the promenade

One of the best features of the promenade is all of the flowers, carefully planted to have something in bloom throughout the entire spring and summer.

A fraction of the flowers currently in bloom

And at several points along the path, you can peek through the trees and see some of the widest parts of the Hudson River below.

The Hudson River and the Jersey shoreline

The promenade is fairly broad, long, and uncrowded, so it is really pleasant walking under a canopy of trees, passing by a dog run, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, and Hippo Playground.

The southern end of the promenade

The promenade is also beautiful in the early evening, lit by a series of old-style lamplights.

A lamppost

There are lots of benches where you can relax in the shade on a hot day. It can be fun to stop at the dog run and watch the puppies romp. And it’s easy to get to from the 1, 2, and 3 trains.

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