Take A Quick Trip To Sherman Creek Park
Though it stands in the shadow of Fort Tryon Park (a five minute walk away, on the opposite side of the island), Sherman Creek Park is one of New York’s best-hidden gardens. Formerly an illegal dump site, Sherman Creek Park’s five acres are now home to the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse, the Riley-Levin Children’s Garden, an amazing esplanade of cherry trees in the spring (one of our go-to spots, as it tends to be less crowded than other spaces), serene river vistas, kayaking, and (of course) New York nature in all of its unspoiled glory.
Nestled just above the water, the Riley-Levin Children’s Garden acts a lynchpin for the New York Restoration Project‘s environmental education program. Different groups from the community use it as a space to teach about nutrition, urban agriculture, and the environment. When not in use, the garden opens to pubic, who can enjoy the strawberry patches, blueberry bushes, and peach trees, as well as Jonathan’s Pond (which educators use to teach about freshwater ecosystems and which is also home to several turtles and ducks). Tables and chairs are tucked between plants, offering a quiet retreat for a picnic.
While the events at the Children’s Garden are only open to those enrolled in an authorized program, the New York City Parks Department offers a variety of programming throughout Sherman Creek Park that is open to the public, including Club Fit: Yoga classes, outdoor movie nights, garden work days, and kayaking launch spots.
For Lil’ Sprouts, Sherman Creek Park is a quick city get-away that doesn’t require too much travel (just take the 1 Train to Dyckman Street Station, as you would to go to the Cloisters). The park is bounded by the actual Harlem River on one side and the honorifically named Harlem River Drive on the other; the latter divides Sherman Creek Park neatly from the more urban Harlem River Park, which curves down along the eastern side of Manhattan in a long riverside walkway (if you’re looking for a longer walk after your visit).
The lush greenery, generously fed by the nearby river, makes Sherman Creek Park feel larger than it is, encouraging exploration and shielding visitors from the city’s tension and turbulence. Bring a picnic, send kids out on the river, or get your grill on— it’s the kind of park that feels just right for lazy summer afternoons.