Located in East Harlem around 125th St. and Madison Avenue, Marcus Garvey Park has become the center of prime pieces of New York real estate.
Newly home to a luxury building with an indoor pool overlooking the park, it also the site of expensive brownstones and new limestone accented lofts. The park has been a center of Harlem life for many years. Once referred to as Mount Morris Park, the park was renamed for African American rights activist Marcus Garvey in 1973. Back when the area was mostly farmland, Dutch settlers referred to the Park as Snake Hill due to a large reptile population.
Marcus Garvey Park is home to New York City’s oldest fire watchtower, which was demarcated as a New York City landmark in 1967. It is not only New York’s oldest, but it is the oldest cast iron watchtower remaining in the entire United States. Due to its historical integrity, the city of New York will be putting in 4 million dollars to save the structure.
Part of the makeover will be an attempt to turn it into a tourist destinations, with signs exploring the site’s significance and concession stands to lure in tourists. The watchtower isn’t the only thing in the park getting a makeover; the Richard Rodgers amphitheater opened in July of 2013, named after the African composer who grew up around the corner. It was previously a crumbling, corroded performance space, dangerous to even set foot into, let alone perform in. Now the ampitheater hosts high caliber theatre and music from all over the city.
The park also has its own recreation center, The Pelham Fitz Recreation Center, little league field, and swimming pool. To take in some stellar views, hike up to the Acropolis lookout, which is seventy feet above street level. Marcus Garvey was one of the first areas in Harlem to be developed after extended rail lines gave service to the area in the 1800s. In June, be sure to check out the neighborhood’s house tours, which, led by local historians and architects, take you on a journey of the area from past to present.
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