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With free kayaking, many public events, a bustling boat basin, and runners, bikers and pedestrians on the move, Riverside Park is a vibrant destination - up to a point. The NY Times has an article about how the Frederick Olmsted-designed park seem much dingier, dirtier, and more dangerous above around 125th Street:

The park’s southern tier, which stretches some 266 acres along the river from 59th Street to 125th Street, has among its highlights immaculate lawns, sand volleyball courts, a preserve for bird watching, and tennis courts and baseball and soccer fields that have been resurfaced in the past 18 months.

The park’s 50-acre northern section, which continues along the river from 125th Street to 158th Street, has none of those amenities. The divots in the two ball fields are so deep that they remain full of water for days after rainstorms, leading children to place sections of cardboard over them in order to play baseball.

In the north, as well, a thriving open-air sex market exists, with mattresses and lean-tos fashioned out of plastic bags and cast-off clothes for privacy. There are discarded hypodermic needles, crack cocaine paraphernalia, mounds of trash and the stench of human waste.

Critics say that the Parks Departments has neglected the northern part for years, leaving parts unrepaired and overgrown. However, Parks Department's Manhattan borough commissioner William Castro explained that even though he was "unaware of many of the trash and maintenance problems at the northern end of the park," the same amount of resources goes into maintaining the northern and southern sections and some workers may have trouble reaching some of the northern part's steep slopes. A good thing to come out of the article is that the Parks Department is going to have another crew work on the northern section; the sad thing is that it did take the article to get that to happen.

Do you agree that Riverside Park changes at around 125th Street? We do find the southern section better maintained overall, but areas that are thick with trees and not near trails do get scary.