August 25, 2014, May 29, 2016, August 13, 2016, August 21, 2016 – Yonkers, NY
Untermyer Park and Gardens previously part of an estate known as Greystone, is a historic park of 43 acres situated in Yonkers, Westchester County, New York. Samuel J. Untermyer, a prominent New York lawyer, purchased Greystone at auction from the estate of Samuel J. Tilden in 1899. The estate originally sat on 150 acres of land. After his death on March 16, 1940, the property was willed to the City of Yonkers. It opened to the public as a park in 1946, but with only 43-acres of the original land. The rest was used for St. John’s Riverside Hospital & a few other surrounding properties. Two years later in 1948 the Greystone mansion was demolished.
By the 1960’s the park fell into disrepair. In the 70’s the park was a frequent hangout of “Son of Sam” David Berkowitz and his satanic cult. I have been going to Untermyer Park since the 70’s. Back then, we visited at night to drink beer and hang out. I had never heard of “Son of Sam” when I started going there, but did see a lot of strange things at night. I saw dead animals that looked as they were sacrificed in a ritual and also witnessed hooded figures chanting in Latin I believe, as they walked through the woods. They even had some underground rooms that had an altar and satanic writings all over the walls. They have since been filled in.
In recent years the City of Yonkers has begun a significant restoration and has transformed this park from a dump to it’s former glory. The park has it all, architecture, landscaped gardens, views, history and ruins. This is more of a walk in the park than a hike although it does have a few trails. I will just post some images of points of interest in the park with a brief description.
The images that appear in this post were shot during four different visits to the park.
Immediately after leaving the parking area you will come upon a memorial. This is a memorial dedicated to the fallen firefighters & police officers of the City of Yonkers. It is not solely for the ones lost on September 11, 2001.
As you continue past the memorial you will see the walled garden.
The Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
The Walled Garden was based on Indo-Persian paradise gardens and included many of their traditional elements: the use of waterways to divide the garden into four quadrants, massive gates, and surrounding walls anchored at their corners with octagonal towers.
Temple of the Sky, a roofless circle of Corinthian columns.
The mosaic tiled floor of the Temple of the Sky.
At one time the pool was tiled completely in mosaic.
Facing north towards the amphitheater.
Thousand steps and/or The Vista.
The view from The Vista is the Palisades and the Hudson River.
Garden ruins is also the area of the “Devil’s Cave” a place where Son of Sam and his cult once held court. The caves have been filled in.
Gate house ruins, I was watching Law and Order SVU one night and saw this in one of the episodes. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.
They recently replaced the rear gate and the fence which had been missing for years.
A couple more shots that I took recently.
The eagle’s nest, this is the area that at one time was used for animal sacrifices. They now call it “The Temple of Love.” I prefer eagle’s nest.
Looking skyward from the eagle’s nest.
Underneath the eagle’s nest.
On my last visit here on August 21, 2016 I was able to capture some images of the newly renovated waterfall, that hasn’t flowed in decades.
I have to commend the City of Yonkers for pouring money into this park. It is a perfect mix of the past and present. I urge everyone to pay this place a visit. You won’t be disappointed. There is no charge for visiting this park.
Until next time, keep on trekking……
Hi! This is a great photographic tour of the gardens. Do you know the name of the “god” in the center of the mosaic in the Temple of the Sky?