Courtney Callender Playground at West 130th – 131st Streets and Fifth Avenue

This playground honors Courtney Callender (1937-1983), New York City’s first African American Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Affairs and the first African American official in Parks under Commissioner Thomas Hoving and Executive Director Henry J. Stern. He established the Community Relations division, which initiated the policy of including the neighborhoods in park decisions. Callender served as… Continue reading

Collyer Brothers Park, West 128th Street & Fifth Avenue

Collyer Brothers Park occupies the former site of the Collyer House, occupied by the eccentric and reclusive Collyer Brothers, Homer and Langley, who made headlines in 1947 when an anonymous phone call reported a dead body at the site.  Police found the bed-ridden Homer dead of starvation and – three weeks later – Langley’s body… Continue reading

Marcus Garvey Park

Originally named Mount Morris Park, Marcus Garvey Park was renamed in 1973 after the Pan-Africanist movement founder Marcus Garvey, who was a noted early Black Nationalist.  Dominated by a vast “berg” (Dutch for hill) of schist, the park was an early lookout for first the Native Americans of the area and then Hessian soldiers during… Continue reading

Scholar’s Gate, Central Park

The southernmost entrance to Central Park on Fifth Avenue, Scholar’s Gate was created in opposition to then-prevailing trends for highly ornate and monumental entrances to parks.  Instead it is a low sandstone opening intended by park designers Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead to represent a great civic park open to all classes. The name… Continue reading

The Sherman Monument

A major work by the American sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens, whose Farragut Memorial graces Madison Square Park more than a mile and a half to the south, the Sherman Monument commemorates the controversial Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman, infamous for “Sherman’s March,” one of the earliest “scorched earth” campaigns of modern warfare. As depicted… Continue reading