Welcome to Riverdale, the site of today’s Tuesday Tour, and a lovely example of a Hudson Line station. Though Riverdale is in the Bronx, the area around the station looks more like the suburbs than the city. Beautiful views of the Hudson River and the Palisades surround you here – and not to offend anyone from the Bronx, the view here at Riverdale is probably not what comes to your mind when you think of “the Bronx.”

Metro-North’s station at Riverdale is located 13 miles from Grand Central. The facilities consist of an overpass with a few ticket vending machines, and two side platforms. Today, Riverdale is the northernmost station in the Bronx on the Hudson Line (Mount St. Vincent station was located north of Riverdale, but was closed many years ago). Although the station has some parking, a good amount of people use the Hudson Rail Link to get to the station.

According to architects Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge’s archives, they designed a station for the Hudson River Railroad here in 1889, though I can’t seem to find any photos or mentions of it later on.

Passing through Riverdale, 1971. [image source]

Right alongside Riverdale station is a small park that parallels both the tracks and the Hudson River. Although dedicated by Michael Bloomberg in 2005, and featured in the New York Times a year after, the park seems largely forgotten. The official name of the place is the “Riverdale Waterfront Promenade and Fishing Access Site”, but you might as well call it a big stinky mess. Access to the small park is gained on the southbound platform, where you descend a set of stairs and cross over a rail siding to reach the riverfront. It would likely be a nice place, if not for the stinky fish guts strewn about the sidewalk, and the overfilled trash bins that probably hadn’t been emptied in weeks. Without the trash, the park really would be a nice place to just sit and watch the river.

Arts for Transit at Riverdale – when it wasn’t covered up with weeds. [image source]

Also at Riverdale station is one of the most unphotogenic Arts for Transit pieces – and it’s certainly not the fault of the artwork. Rising and Setting, by Dennis Oppenheim is a colorful steel sculpture, unfortunately overtaken with weeds. Metro-North desperately needs to send someone over there with a weedwhacker. As much as I love the Arts for Transit program, I wonder at times if everybody fully thinks these things through. Putting art in locked stations is pointless, and although pretty horrible, North White Plains‘ art has been desperate for a paint job for years. All of these wonderful installations certainly need to be maintained – and at places like Riverdale (and Wassaic, where the art is also being obscured by growth) sending somebody to trim some plants seems like a pretty easy fix!

Though the area doesn’t get any bonus points for the stinky park, and few for the art, I really don’t mean to be insulting to Riverdale. The station is quite nice, and from the overpass, the view of the river and the Palisades is quite wonderful. Even from the platforms you can see large ships and tiny pleasure-crafts moving up and down the river. Wave Hill, the 28-acre public garden, is a worthwhile attraction not far from the station. They even operate a free shuttle to public transit riders, so it is definitely worth checking out if you’re ever in the area.


4 Responses

  1. emily says:

    I watched the space shuttle Enterprise flyover from this station’s park! It wasn’t fish-guts-stinky or too trashy at the time… maybe neglect since then or it just wasn’t fishin’ season yet back in April?

  2. Otto Vondrak says:

    This is certainly a forgotten corner of The Bronx, and probably doesn’t see much in the way of city services. It would be nice if the trash bins were emptied more often (wonder who’s job that is- MTA, City Sanitation, private concern?), but there’s also the folks who use the park who need to clean up after themselves, too. Otherwise, the views from the overpass really can’t be beat!

  3. Al Cyone says:

    When I used to manage the mailing list (among other things) for a small resort, I’d always change “Riverdale, NY” to “Bronx, NY” for those guests who were in denial. I don’t know if I ended up chasing away any customers but, in a small way, it always made me feel good doing it. Similarly, Manhattan College lists its address as “Riverdale, NY”. I always imagine the shock parents must feel when they realize their child is going to college in . . . the Bronx!

    Anyway, if you think Riverdale is nice, check out Fieldston. It’s to Riverdale what Riverdale is to the Bronx.

  4. Adam Moss says:

    Mount St. Vincent – East 261st Street damn it :P

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