As reported in post earlier this week, Roosevelt Island's East River waterfront Southpoint Park is open again for the public to enjoy. During this weekend, why not take a walk down to the park, have a look around and let us know what you think of it.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) issued the following advisory regarding the use of the park:
Please be advised Southpoint Park is now open daily from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM.Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy shares her thoughts and some pictures from opening day at the new Southpoint Park.
Sanitary facilities and water fountains are located in the Park. There are no barbeque areas and outside grills are prohibited.
Southpoint Park opened today after years in the works. I stopped by briefly to see what has materialized from mounds of debris and acres of weeds.The full opening day Southpoint Park photo album from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society is here.
The approximately 7 acre park weaves south from the gate just south of Goldwater Hospital to the southern end of the Smallpox Hospital. The FDR Four Freedoms Park site is south and will open late in 2012.
Image from FDR Four Freedoms Park
Just outside the east gates and inside the west gates are cast iron columns
salvaged from the City Hospital, which was on the site.
The stone walls (Fordham Gneiss quarried on the Island and salvaged from the City Hospital form a serpentine low winding bench and/or fence thru most of the park area.
Thanks to Alyce Russo, former RIOC Director of Planning for having the stones stored for future use.
Unfortunately the first structure you see is the comfort station, in blue and gray, two colors that have no relation to anything on Roosevelt Island. It is super size and great for school and camp groups.
Wide asphalt paved roads and paths make it easy for vehicles to use the roads. They seem a little wide and overwhelming in some areas.
The hills, which cover tons of rocks now are gently sloping downwards which kids and teens seemed to love and run up and down them.
The plantings are mostly wild flowers and black eyed Susan's.
No fancy lawns or gardens here.
Interspaced in the hills are remnants from the old hospital entrance
including an orb
that once signified the entrance to the Maternity Hospital on the site.
The cul-de-sac that will eventually include the FDR Hope Memorial
has a lovely grove of trees surrounding it and overlooking the Smallpox Hospital.
The landmark Smallpox Hospital (Not Renwick Ruin) is surrounded by a high fence and unfortunately the weeds and debris has not been removed from around it.
Images From Brian Blazak of Roosevelt Island Historical Society
This is a pity, since the building should be the showpiece of the park. Hopefully this will be remedied soon.
The landmark Strecker Memorial Laboratory just northeast shines with its wonderful restoration and it is pleasantly placed in a setting befitting this lovely structure.
It is not a cafe, but a power conversion station for the F and M subway lines. Perhaps it is the perfect site for a few tables and a Cappucino Cart.
Modern steel benches dot the area. They look out of place and a bit to modern for the classic site.
It is wonderful to watch the River from paths that were blocked by debris and overgrown vegetation for years.
This may not be the High Line, but it is our new connection to the River and our southern tip. Considering all the convolutions the park went thru, I am glad it is finally here!
For information on the landmark Smallpox Hospital and Strecker Laboratory go to www.rihs.us.
More on Southpoint Park Grand Opening and tour here.
The images not credited to the Roosevelt Island Historical Society were taken today to illustrate some of Ms. Berdy's comments or otherwise credited.
UPDATE 8/6 - The aerial view of Southpoint Park and FDR Memorial image were added to text today.