Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Upper West Side history walk

New York City is filled with history but the Upper West Side where we are located is particularly saturated. Start at 490 Riverside Drive btw 120th and 122nd Streets and end at 72nd Street at Central Park West. Time = 2.5 hours. Distance 3.2 miles.

1) Riverside Church at 490 Riverside Dr -- modeled after a 13th Century Gothic Cathedral in Chartres, France. Martin Luther King delivered his "Beyond Vietnam" speech here, exactly one yr before  his assassination. Expand your knowledge with a free tour on Sundays at 12.30 p.m.

2) Riverside Park (Riverside Drive btw 72nd and 158th Sts.) which opened in 1875 and was designed by Frederik Law Olmstead of Central Park and Prospect Park fame. Don't miss the General Grant National Memorial at 122nd St, right across from Riverside Church.

3) Barney Greengrass (541 Amsterdam Avenue between 86th and 87th Sts. The 100+ yr old deli has made cameos in 'Sex and the City" and "30 Rock," and counts Jerry Seinfeld and Alec Baldwin as regulars. Try the fabled smoked sturgeon with eggs and onions.

4) The Dakota (1 W. 72nd Street at Central Park West). Erected in 1884 and so named because it was then considered to be as remote as the Dakota Territory. This present day exclusive co-op was the setting for Rosemary's Baby, but is best known as the site of John Lennon's 1980 assassination. Fans can pay tribute to everything Beatles/Lennon across the street at Strawberry Fields (Central Park at West 72nd Street).

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