Travel

One of America’s hidden gems just outside NYC: Untermyer Gardens Conservancy

Hidden gem right outside New York City. Untermyer Garden and Park
Raquel Gerlani

I love to travel but planning any trip now during Covid hasn’t been easy so I decided to explore what NY has to offer and I am speechless 🤩


Samuel UntermyerSamuel Untermyer was born in Virginia in 1858, and as a boy moved to New York City after the Civil War. He was a partner in the law firm of Guggenheimer, Untermyer & Marshall, and was the first lawyer in America to earn a one million dollar fee on a single case. He was also an astute investor, and became extremely wealthy.

Samuel Untermyer

Samuel Untermyer was also passionately interested in horticulture. He famously said that if he could do it over again, he would want to be the Parks Commissioner in New York City! Unlike most wealthy garden-owners, Untermyer was expertly knowledgeable about horticulture. The level of horticulture at the Untermyer Gardens was nationally famous, and some great gardeners got their training there.

His ambition for the garden was that it be not less than the “finest garden in the world.”*

THE VISTA

The Vista was modeled on a similar series of descending stairs at the Villa D’Este in Italy. At the Villa D’Este, the stairs descend gracefully toward Lake Como while at Untermyer, they cascade toward the Hudson River. Bosworth’s original design flanked the stairs with Japanese cedars mimicking the dark cypress of the original. This feature was restored after the removal of invasive trees; the inner bands are planted with Japanese forest grass.

At the base of the Vista is the Overlook. The two columns framing the view of the Hudson River and the Palisades are ancient Roman monolithic marble columns from the estate of Stanford White.

Raquel Gerlani

THE TEMPLE OF LOVE

The Temple of Love overlooks a magnificent view south along the Hudson River and the Palisades.  Best viewed from below, it is a stupendous rocky fantasy capped with a round temple. It was the centerpiece of an extended rock garden and was flanked by terraced beds. The outcropping was an elaborate water feature, with water coursing all around it in various waterfalls and ponds.  The Temple of Love was created by Carlo Davite, a Genoese stone mason who did work in the Paris Exposition, the St. Louis Exposition and at the Frick Museum.

Many of the rocks are hollowed out to form planters, and in Samuel Untermyer’s time, the entire creation was elaborately planted. There are three bridges in the rough stone and a small seating area with a rough hewn stone bench that can be reached through a rocky tunnel in the folly. An additional monolithic bridge crosses the pool at the base of the Temple of Love.

THE ROCK AND STREAM GARDEN

In Untermyer’s era, the Rock Garden was a naturalistic tumble of stones flanking a tiny stream running through it.  Buried under soil and vegetation for years, it was uncovered due to the work of gardener Timothy Tilghman and the Yonkers Parks Department crew.  Stone paths wind uphill, crossing the stream several times on rock bridges.  A small seating area with a curved stone bench sits partway up the hill.  There are many views of it from the 1930s in the Smithsonian archives.

This garden has been rebuilt as the Rock and Stream Garden, incorporating elements from Samuel Untermyer’s garden in the 1930’s, and extending it to the lower basin of the Temple of Love. Its source is a vernal pool at the top, followed by a stone throne, an island for sitting based on similar features in Mughal gardens. Various other stone bridges, waterfalls and seating enrich a lively and rustic garden feature which complements the nearby Temple of Love.

Untermyer Park and Gardens is open Fridays and Sundays from noon to 6pm and Saturday’s from 11:00 to 4:30 with FREE times entry reservations.

ADDRESS: 945 N Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10701

OTHER INFORMATION:


Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities
:
Untermyer Park and Gardens is owned by the City of Yonkers.
There are two designated parking spaces available next to the Cola Community Center. The path leading to the Walled Garden, and the paths within the Walled Garden are flat and covered with fine gravel. The restrooms are multiuser and both have one handicapped stall. There is a small step up to enter the restrooms.

Dogs:
Dogs are not allowed at Untermyer Gardens with the exception of service dogs (as defined by the ADA) which are always welcome.


Photography and Film:

Professional Photography:information on permits may be found on the Yonkers Parks Department Website or by calling (914) 377-6450.  After making arrangements to book a time for your permit, you will pick up your permit at the Yonkers Parks Department at 285 Nepperhan Ave, Yonkers, NY.  Only the City of Yonkers can issue permits for this site.

Commercial Photography and Film: Please visit their Commercial Photography and Film page for more information.

Weddings: Please visit their Weddings page for more information.

Parking:
There are spaces for about 75 cars in the parking lots. In addition, there is street parking along North Broadway which is both metered (coin operated) and unmetered.

Stay tuned and subscribe because I’ll be sharing a lot of beautiful and different places here!

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