Carl Schurz Park



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The section of the Carl Schurz Park lying south of 86th Street, where John Jacob Astor had a villa was used as a picnic ground when the northern section of "East River Park" was acquired by the city of New York in 1891; the easternmost block of 86th Street was acquired subsequently, and the street de-mapped.
Carl Schurz Parkwas reconstructed in 1935 by Robert Moses. Carl Schurz Park's restoration from its almost derelict state in the 1970s was due to the energies of a neighborhood group, the not-for-profit Carl Schurz Park Association (incorporated 1974), formed originally to clean up the Park's single playground. Carl Schurz Park served as the location for the climactic fight scene in Spike Lee's 2002 film 25th Hour, starring Edward Norton and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Carl Schurz Park is a 14.9 acre (60,000 m²) public park on the Upper East Side of New York City, named for German-born Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz in 1910, at the edge of what was then a solidly German-American community of Yorkville.

Carl Schurz Park overlooks the waters of Hell Gate and Wards Island in the East River, and is the site of Gracie Mansion (built for Archibald Gracie, 1799, enlarged ca 1811), the official residence of the Mayor of New York since 1942 (although current mayor Michael Bloomberg does not live there). Carl Schurz Park's waterfront promenade is a deck built over the FDR Drive, enclosing the roadway except on the side facing the East River. Carl Schurz Park is bordered on the west by East End Avenue and on the south by Gracie Square, the extension of East 84th Street to the river. The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway passes along the promenade platform.
Visitors to Carl Schurz Park will find winding, shady paths, green lawns, waterfront views, basketball courts, a large playground for children, and two dog runs. Carl Schurz Park is maintained with the help of volunteers and a full time staff of gardeners.

The bluff overlooking a curve in the East River at this point was named by an early owner, Siebert Classen, "Hoorn's Hook", for his native Hoorn on the Zuider Zee. The first house on this Carl Schurz Park site was built for Jacob Walton, a few years before the Revolution, when the picturesque site suddenly gained tactical importance in the control of the East River. In February 1776 the house and grounds were commandeered for an American battery of nine guns on the site; this drew British fire, 15 September 1776, in a mopping-up operation to secure all of Manhattan Island following the Battle of Long Island; the bombardment demolished Walton's house and forced an American withdrawal. The British kept an encampment on the site until Evacuation Day, 1783. Archibald Gracie levelled the remains of the star fort and constructed his timber-framed villa in 1799.