Hidden Gem of UES – Carl Schurz Park


On the upper east side lays a 15-acre gem stretching from East 90th street to East 84th Street along East End avenue. Carl Shurz Park sits on a peninsula overseeing the East river and is home to the Gracie Mansion. Be ready to be amazed and explore gardens along side of swirling pathways, feeling like a scene from the Chronicles of Narnia. Taking the 4/5/6 trains to 86th Street there is a 10-minute walk leading to this place of escape.

Entering from 86th Street and East End avenue Carl Shurz looks like a typical park. As you advance down Cherry Allee, 4 pathways greet you to get familiar with the landscape. Each pathway rises on an incline taking you to places like Peter Pan Circle and Woodland Hills, both locations give visitors two different views of the park’s famous arches. Navigating through pathways leads to different entrances of the promenade.

Atop of this elevation are rows of gardens, in total 20 gardens flourish all over the park. Flowers invite you to their colorful world, tall lavenders, bright yellows, and many other hues nestle among the greenery. A wide concrete road allows for cyclists and pedestrians to share the view of the East River. On view to the left is Queens, Roosevelt Island’s Lighthouse and the Triborough bridge stands with boats in the distance. To the right, as visitors descend from 90th Street: a basketball court, 2 dog parks and elevated playground give park goers a variety of leisure.

If visitors prefer a tourist experience with hints of history, this park opened in the 16th century and was originally named Hellegat, meaning “Bright Passage” in Dutch. Notably, this name was recognized as Hell Gate as a pun. Fast forward to 1910, the park was renamed to Carl Shurz to honor the German-American statesman and slavery abolitionist. Yorkville had been predominantly a German-American community at this time. In addition, the Gracie Mansion is named after Archibald Gracie, a rich businessman from Scotland who arrived in New York in 1779. Housing an abundance of great guest figures over the centuries, from Alexander Hamilton to Nelson Mandela, this mansion is certainly an iconic piece of New York City. In more present times, this 18th-century luxury is New York City’s White House, where all appointed mayors are residents during their term(s). For more extensive information, I recommend taking a tour!

Of course, if visitors are EXPlorers, take a breath and embrace the park like a local. Living among this park, it is hard to keep track of time & distance since the street signs are not inside. From runners to sunbathers there is plenty reason to be a verb and be active. Remember Explore, Expand & Experience!