226 W 150th st.
45 W 139th St
40 Pinehurst Ave.
Photo By: Mathew Henry
Blog by Agent Patrick Frankfort
You know, sometimes happy accidents occur. Here I am, a self-proclaimed “Brokerdad,” strolling with my little girl Gracie, who was 10 months old at the time, down Riverside Drive when I come upon the entrance of Riverbank State Park. Now, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve passed that entrance at 138th and Riverside many many times but have never chosen to enter. But, something about that day was different.
Gracie and I decided to check it out and after just 1 minute of walking in, I realized, “I’m an idiot.” I live a block away and yet it took me 10 months before I stepped foot in one of the coolest urban parks quite possibly in all of Manhattan!
Now what makes Riverbank State Park cool? First, it was inspired by urban rooftop designs from Japan. Cool! Located at 679 Riverside Drive, this 28 acre city park has something for everyone! Double Cool. And located right off the 1 train, it’s so easy to get to. Cool Cubed! And now, we make trips to Riverbank part of our weekly routine.
Gracie, aka GG, is now almost 2 years old. She loves the kids playground as you first enter. I love watching her run all around, trying out every little slide, and walking up and down the stairs - counting them as only she can, “One, Two, Fee, Fo-uh, Fie” (We’re still working on the consonants).
Inevitably, she likes to walk out of that area towards the tennis courts and softball field. I have to bribe her to come back with bubbles, or a promise to let her push her stroller. This wonderland also has a football/soccer field with a track surrounding it. And yes, I have thought about picking up running, but that thought quickly disappears as I firmly believe that chasing a toddler burns just as many calories. At least that’s my excuse. But for those with a bit more energy and time, they also host intramural sports leagues such as soccer, basketball, softball, track & field, tennis, kayaking, flag football, cheerleading, ice hockey, and martial arts!
Learn more about their leagues and activities by CLICKING HERE.
Now, for those hot spring and summer months, you can hop into one of the two pools at Riverbank. Yes there’s an indoor or outdoor pool option, with a sun bathing area. Just $1 for kids and seniors, and $2 for adults. My Gracie can get in free along with kids 4-and-under. And there are various sprinklers running during the summer months as well for kids and overheated agents to run through. And as if it couldn’t get any more awesome, there’s also a skating rink. In the summer, it’s a roller rink, but as the temperature drops, it becomes an ice skating rink. Ice or not, there’s always great music blasting too.
Now GG, and my wife Kristy and I, love to hang at the amazing picnic area with quite possibly the best views of the George Washington Bridge. Plenty of tables to choose from and lots of space for GG to safely run all over. Sometimes Gracie and I just sit there, taking in the sites, the boats passing by, the birds flying all around. My daughter has a slight obsession with birds. She feels the need to wave and say, “Hi!” to each and every one of them. And if she gets bored, we let her walk back and forth on the promenade - right by the water and the amphitheater.
YES. There’s a 400seat amphitheater right by the water. You can take in some Shakespeare from the Pulse Ensemble Theatre during the summer months. There’s also the Cultural Theater that houses 800 seats and has hosted such awesome events in the past as National Gymnastics Day.
Now, my Gracie’s favorite part of the park is the Carousel. She loves loves loves to ride it. And this is no ordinary carousel. This one was designed by local kids. Well, not the technical design, but the animals on which the kids ride. I must admit, I found it a bit odd at first, but now I think it’s the coolest carousel I’ve ever ridden. Now when it’s time for a break or a bite to eat, there’s always Sofrito on the Hudson. Yes, this magical place has a fantastic Puerto Rican restaurant with a great brunch. And yes, they do have happy hour specials. Their empanadas are also GG approved!
All in all, Riverbank State Park is a Hamilton Heights treasure that I feel fortunate to live near. I am just a few steps from one of the most unique parks in the world. And it’s a place where my daughter can experience amazing things like theatre, sport, and nature.
Hopefully, whether you have a child or are one at heart, you don't take 10 months to find out one of the best outdoor spots in Hamilton Heights.
Originally from North Carolina, Patrick has been an NYC resident for the past 14 years. He currently resides in the Hamilton Heights.