By Michael McDowell
Upper West Siders should never neglect to count their blessings, which include not just one, but both of New York City’s most beautiful parks.
In Riverside Park, neighbors and friends may soon enjoy Summer on the Hudson, a months-long festival presented in partnership with NYC Parks and the Riverside Park Conservancy.
“This year we have over 250 events,” Whitney Dearden, director of programming, told the Rag. A full schedule is available here, and a more colorful brochure here. All programming is free and open to the public. The season opens with the annual Irish Dance Festival, on May 5, and concludes with the Little Red Lighthouse Festival, on October 5.
“We’ve kept all of our well-loved staples,” she said. “All of the concerts are returning on Sunday nights in July, as well as salsa night and silent disco, a fan favorite. In partnership with Pier I Café, we’re able to offer four silent disco dates this year.”
In addition to the concerts, film screenings, and health and wellness programming known to many, Dearden is especially excited about several new educational programs, including horticulture tours led by the Conservancy’s zone gardeners—experts who patrol various sections of Riverside Park—and a monuments tour organized in partnership with the New York Historical Society.
The latter have proven so popular they are fully booked, and Dearden plans to add additional dates. She encourages those who are interested to subscribe to Summer on the Hudson’s mailing list here.
The cornucopia of programming even includes fishing clinics, which are held in West Harlem.
Volunteer opportunities are available, especially at FlyNYC (a kite festival) and the West Side County Fair, toward the end of the season.
“If you’re interested in teaching children how to ride bikes, we do a ‘learn to ride’ at the end of May,” Dearden added. She encourages those who are interested to send her an email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who have questions, skills, or interests are encouraged to reach out. “I’m always happy to connect with those who have an interest in helping the park,” Dearden said.
This article has been updated.