When you walk through the entrance gate at Wave Hill, a public garden located north of Manhattan in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, the first thing that draws your eye is the pergola overlook, surrounded by containers of tropical plants. Last week Hurricane Sandy swept away a lot of the color, damaged some trees. and knocked out electricity. Garden officials report, however: “Miiraculously we escaped with remarkably little damage compared to other parts of the tri-state area.” Here is how Wave Hill looked before the storm:
Above: Wave Hill exists, against all odds, in pristine and untouched condition. The history of this beautiful property, like all good stories, is filled with colorful characters and amazing coincidences. Back in 1870 when Wave Hill was a private estate, it was rented for two summers by the family of Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a young teenager at the time and is said to have developed his love of nature while living at Wave Hill.
Above: Years later, when Roosevelt was governor of New York, the Palisades, a geological formation more than 30 million years old, was threatened by destructive industrial practices. Its trees were being cut for lumber and replaced with advertising billboards, and its amazing stone face was being quarried. Roosevelt must have remembered looking at it as a young boy.
Above: In 1900 he created The Palisades Interstate Park Commission and appointed George W. Perkins, a dedicated conservationist and aide to financier J. P. Morgan, to run it. Not only did Perkins manage to halt the destruction of the Palisades, he also purchased Wave Hill. He added it to several other Hudson River properties he owned, creating the 28-acre expanse that exists today. Perkins lived there until his death in 1920; 40 years later his descendants gave the property to the City of New York.
Above: Today’s visitor is the beneficiary of Perkins’ hard work and vision. A short train trip from Manhattan lands you in a place of spectacular beauty and almost eerie quiet. Wave Hill is open all year.
Above: Visit the flower garden in front of the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory. If you have time, hike the half mile woodland trail to the conifer slope or pay a visit to the Glyndor Gallery with its current display of original works inspired by the Palisades.
Above: Better yet, have a seat in one of the comfy wooden lawn chairs and listen to the birdsong while you watch the river glisten below. Say a little thank you to Teddy Roosevelt and be glad the Battle of San Juan Hill was not his only victory.
Above: For flower beds that look this healthy at home, enrich your soil. Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Flowers & Vegetables can be mixed in with existing soil at a 1:1 ratio. To feed plants, Miracle-Gro Liquafeed can be attached to a hose to ensure a proper concentration of nutrients.