Riverside Park is a long narrow strip
of land between Riverside Drive and the Hudson River, extending from
72nd street to 158th street. Prehistoric
glaciers left rocky outcroppings and steep bluffs on the site and
before European settlement the rough terrain was only sparsely
populated by Aboriginal Americans.
In 1846, the Hudson River Railroad was
built along the shoreline. Between the end of the civil war
(President Grant's tomb is in the park) and 1875 the land between the
tracks and the bluffs was acquired by the city and plans for a park
were commissioned from Frederick Law Olmstead, the chief designer of
Central Park. His plan (with numerous modifications) was implemented
between 1875 and 1900.
Between 1934 and 1937 a plan known as the West
Side Improvement was executed along the Hudson riverfront to double
the size of Riverside park to include the West Side Highway and the
railroad tracks (which were covered by a promenade). As such the
park is split in half by the West Side Highway, the main north-south
freeway on the west side (it's East side counterpart is the FDR drive
which runs along the East River).
Riverside Park's long, narrow shape makes it defy convenient
cartography, but here's an attempt.