There are plenty of great walks in this bustling town, but take our word for it and start your next trek in Riverside Park at 123rd Street, where General Ulysses S. Grant is entombed (not buried!) next to his wife, Julia. Across the street is the beautiful Sakura Park. Named for its cherry trees (“sakura” means “cherry blossom” in Japanese), the tranquil park features a traditional Japanese stone lantern and a lovely gazebo perfect for meditating in. After you’ve lingered long enough, the sound of bells will call you to the nearby Riverside Church, famous for its Gothic architecture and for being the tallest church in the country, thanks to its 392-foot tower. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the 79-year-old church welcomes visitors to take in its stained-glass windows, medieval designs, and the pulpit from which Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous anti–Vietnam War sermon. Finally, head south on the sun-dappled path bordering Riverside Drive to the Soldiers and Sailors’ Memorial Monument (at 89th Street), a massive, marble, temple-like structure that commemorates the Union Army soldiers and sailors who served in the Civil War. The 30-block walk is surrounded by lush trees (especially great to view in the fall when the leaves are changing) and is so serene that you’ll have to keep reminding yourself that you’re in Manhattan. Pack some snacks and water bottles (or just get some ice cream from a vendor along the way), and call it another perfect day in the city.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 21, 2009