Wave Hill

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Wave Hill
Wave hill house, August 2019.jpg
Wave Hill House
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LocationWest 249th Street and Independence Avenue
Coordinates 40°53′55″N73°54′47″W / 40.89861°N 73.91306°W / 40.89861; -73.91306 Coordinates: 40°53′55″N73°54′47″W / 40.89861°N 73.91306°W / 40.89861; -73.91306
Area20.9 acres (8.5 ha)
Architectural styleColonial Revival, Greek Revival
NRHP reference # 83001646 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPSeptember 9, 1983
Designated NYCLJune 21, 1966

Wave Hill is a 28-acre (11 ha) estate in the Hudson Hill section of Riverdale, The Bronx, in New York City. Wave Hill currently consists of public horticultural gardens and a cultural center, all situated on the slopes overlooking the Hudson River, with expansive views across the river to the New Jersey Palisades. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the estate includes two houses and a botanical garden. The oldest part of the main house, Wave Hill House, dates back to 1843; Glyndor House dates from 1927 and contains a multi-room art gallery. Perkins Visitor Center, which was originally a garage, contains a gift shop and an information desk.

Hudson Hill, Bronx Neighborhood of the Bronx

Hudson Hill, also known as Riverdale Estates, is a neighborhood of Riverdale in the New York City borough of The Bronx, bordered by the Henry Hudson Parkway on the east, the Hudson River on the west, West 246th Street on the south and West 254th Street on the north.

Riverdale, Bronx Neighborhood in the Bronx in New York City

Riverdale is a residential neighborhood in the northwest portion of the Bronx, a borough in New York City. Riverdale, which has a population of 47,850 as of the 2000 United States Census, contains the northernmost point in New York City. Riverdale's boundaries are disputed, but it is commonly agreed to be bordered by Yonkers to the north, Van Cortlandt Park and Broadway to the east, the Kingsbridge neighborhood to the southeast, the Harlem River or the Spuyten Duyvil neighborhood to the south, and the Hudson River to the west. Riverdale Avenue is the primary thoroughfare through Riverdale.

The Bronx Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City, in the U.S. state of New York. It is south of Westchester County; northeast and east of Manhattan, across the Harlem River; and north of Queens, across the East River. Since 1914, the borough has had the same boundaries as Bronx County, the third-most densely populated county in the United States.


During the late 19th century and early 20th century, numerous highly notable people resided in Wave Hill, either because they owned it, leased it, or stayed there as guests. In 1960, the estate was given to the City of New York, and Wave Hill is now a cultural center as well as a garden. In addition to visual arts exhibits, paid-ticket concert series take place on some Sunday afternoons in Armor Hall.


The original Wave Hill House was a gray fieldstone mansion built in 1843 by lawyer William Lewis Morris. [2] It was owned from 1866 to 1903 by publisher William Henry Appleton, who enlarged the house in between 1866 and 1869 and again in 1890, and added greenhouses and gardens to the grounds. [2] During these years, the house was visited by Thomas Henry Huxley, who helped Charles Darwin bring evolution by natural selection to the public's attention. Theodore Roosevelt's family rented Wave Hill during the summers of 1870 and 1871, and Mark Twain leased it from 1901 to 1903. [3]


Fieldstone is a naturally occurring type of stone, which lies at or near the surface of the Earth. Fieldstone is a nuisance for farmers seeking to expand their land under cultivation, but at some point it began to be used as a construction material. Strictly speaking, it is stone collected from the surface of fields where it occurs naturally. Collections of fieldstones which have been removed from arable land or pasture to allow for more effective agriculture are called clearance cairns.

William Henry Appleton American publisher/eldest son/successor of Daniel Appleton

William Henry Appleton was an American publisher, eldest son and successor of Daniel Appleton.

Thomas Henry Huxley English biologist and comparative anatomist

Thomas Henry Huxley was an English biologist and anthropologist specialising in comparative anatomy. He is known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

The house was purchased in 1903 by George Walbridge Perkins, a partner of J. P. Morgan, along with adjacent property, including Glyndor, a house built by the Harriman family in 1888, which later burned down and was rebuilt in 1927. [2] In 1910, Perkins added an underground building for recreation which included a bowling alley. [2] Perkins performed extensive landscaping on the site and leased Wave Hill House to an eminent ichthyologist, Bashford Dean of the American Museum of Natural History, who built a stone addition to the building as a private museum, Armor Hall.

George Walbridge Perkins American politician and businessman

George Walbridge Perkins I was an American politician and businessman. He was a leader of the Progressive Movement, especially the Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive party of 1912. Starting as an office boy he became a leading executive in insurance, steel and banking, always on the alert for new and better ways to do business. He was a top aide to financier J. P. Morgan, and handled complex issues involving U.S. Steel, International Harvester, and other large corporations and insurance companies. He was vice-president of New York Life Insurance Company and a partner in J.P. Morgan & Co. He served as president of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission from its creation in 1900 until his death in 1920.

J. P. Morgan American financier, banker, philanthropist and art collector

John Pierpont Morgan Sr. was an American financier and banker who dominated corporate finance on Wall Street throughout the Gilded Age. As the head of the banking firm that became known as J.P. Morgan and Co., he played a central role in the wave of industrial consolidation during the late 19th and early 20th century.

E. H. Harriman American businessman

Edward Henry Harriman was an American railroad executive.

Other famous residents of the estate included the conductor Arturo Toscanini (1942–1945) and chief members of the British Delegation to the United Nations (1950–1956). [2] In 1960, at the suggestion of Robert Moses, the Perkins-Freeman family deeded Wave Hill to the City of New York. [2] In 1983, the estate was added to the roster of the National Register of Historic Places. [1] Before 1987, the estate was known as Perkins Garden. During that year Parks Commissioner Henry Stern renamed it Wave Hill. [4]

Arturo Toscanini Italy-born American conductor

Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. He was one of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and of the 20th century, renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his eidetic memory. He was at various times the music director of La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and the New York Philharmonic. Later in his career he was appointed the first music director of the NBC Symphony Orchestra (1937–54), and this led to his becoming a household name through his radio and television broadcasts and many recordings of the operatic and symphonic repertoire.

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization tasked with maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international co-operation, and being a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. It was established after World War II, with the aim of preventing future wars, and succeeded the ineffective League of Nations. Its headquarters, which are subject to extraterritoriality, are in Manhattan, New York City, and it has other main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and The Hague. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193.

Robert Moses American urban planner and public official

Robert Moses was an American public official who worked mainly in the New York metropolitan area. Known as the "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City, Long Island, Rockland County, and Westchester County, he is sometimes compared to Baron Haussmann of Second Empire Paris, and was one of the most polarizing figures in the history of urban development in the United States. His decisions favoring highways over public transit helped create the modern suburbs of Long Island and influenced a generation of engineers, architects, and urban planners who spread his philosophies across the nation despite his not having trained in those professions. Moses would call himself a "coordinator" and was referred to in the media as a "master builder".

In 2005, Wave Hill was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. [5] [6]

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Michael Bloomberg American businessman and politician, former mayor of New York City

Michael Rubens Bloomberg KBE is an American businessman, politician, author, and philanthropist. As of April 2019, his net worth was estimated at $62.1 billion, making him the sixth-richest person in the United States and the ninth richest person in the world. He has joined The Giving Pledge, whereby billionaires pledge to give away at least half of their wealth. To date, Bloomberg has given away $8.2 billion, including his November 2018 $1.8 billion gift to Johns Hopkins University for student aid—the largest private donation ever made to a higher education institution.

Conservatory interior Wave Hill Conservancy Greenhouse Interior.jpg
Conservatory interior

On an annual basis, about 65,000 people visit Wave Hill, making it one of the most popular sites in Riverdale. [4] [7]


The special features of Wave Hill's gardens include:


The Shop [8] contains gifts from local artists.

See also

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  1. 1 2 "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Herman, Michele, "Wave Hill" in Jackson, Kenneth T., ed. (1995), The Encyclopedia of New York City , New Haven: Yale University Press, ISBN   0300055366
  3. "Cultural Resource Information System (CRIS)" (Searchable database). New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation . Retrieved 2016-08-01.Note: This includes Larry E. Gobrecht (May 1983). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Wave Hill" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-01. and Accompanying 19 photographs
  4. 1 2 https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/wave-hill/history
  5. Roberts, Sam (July 6, 2005). "City Groups Get Bloomberg Gift of $20 Million". The New York Times.
  6. "News". Carnegie.org. 2005.
  7. http://www.businessinsider.com/tour-of-wave-hill-in-the-bronx-2015-11/#on-nice-days-the-park-can-get-busy-18
  8. "The Shop". WaveHill.org.

Further reading