DeWitt Clinton Park
The Parks Department acquired this 7.4-acre lot in Hell's Kitchen in 1901 and officially opened DeWitt Clinton Park in 1905. The park was designed by landscape architect Samuel Parsons, Jr. and featured a recreation / bathing pavilion (by the architectural firm of Barney & Chapman) overlooking the Hudson River, a gymnasium, a running track, playgrounds, and a children's farm garden. A public bath was added somewhere around here in 1911. The bathing pavillion was probably demolished when an acre and a half of the park was chopped off on the river side in 1927 for the elevated Miller Highway that permitted unimpeded truck access to the then-busy industrial waterfront. The Miller Highway was closed in 1973, demolished sometime thereafter, and replaced with an eight-lane at-grade road that was renamed for Joe DiMaggio in 1999. (historical sign).
The park is named after former mayor, state legislator and governor DeWitt Clinton (1769 - 1828). Although Clinton had many notable accomplishments in his public and private careers, he is probably best remembered for his role in planning and promoting the Erie Canal (constructed 1817 - 1825). Although widely derided in its day, the canal connecting the Hudson River and Great Lakes ultimately made New York City the commercial gateway to America, ultimately leading to its continuing dominance in the financial services sector. The Erie Canal is commemorated with a children's playground on the west side of the park.
The southeast entrance of the park is the home of the Flanders Field Memorial, which was designed by sculptor Burt W. Johnson and architect Harvey W. Corbett. The statue depicts a World War I soldier and was dedicated in 1930, with a restoration in 1997.