Samuel Untermyer Park & Gardens
Untermyer Gardens was built from 1912-1915 by prominent attorney Samuel Untermyer, was designed by Beaux Arts architect William Welles Bosworth. Bosworth’s layout and governing principles are Indo-Persian, with Greco-Roman structures and embellishments. The upper garden is surrounded on three sides by a crenulated wall with four reflecting pools representing the four rivers of Paradise. At the northern edge of the Walled Garden, a pair of sphinxes designed by Paul Manship sit atop Iconic columns overlooking a large reflecting pool (stock with aquatic plantings and fish) and a Greek styled amphitheater. The upper garden is home to the Temple of Sky, a series of Corinthian columns surrounded a mosaic of Medusa. Other main features include the Vista, a series of descending stairs modeled after the Villa D'Este (Lake Como, Italy)leading to two 2,000 year old Roman marble columns and the Temple of Love, a rocky outcropping with cantilevered terraces, winding steps and a rounded temple.
In its prime Samuel Untermyer employed more than 60 full time gardeners, sprawled over 150 acres overlooking the Hudson River and had 60 greenhouses. The gardens were opened to the public weekly throughout the 1920s and 1930, and were frequented by over 30,000 in one day in 1939. Today the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy is led by former NYC Landmarks Preservation Commissioner and architect Stephen Byrns, who has raised upwards of $1 million this year ($2 million in the last 5 years) for an annual restoration effort. This year’s project was to bring back the waterfall feature at the Temple of Love. The Conservancy’s herculean efforts, in partnership with the City, are nothing short of spectacular.