New York City and waterfalls may not be typically associated, but Morningside Park has actually played host to a manmade cascade since 1990. Now, it seems the picturesque pond area — located near 113th Street across from baseball fields — has fallen into disrepair, and residents are taking action.
Friends of Morningside Park, a volunteer-led organization which launched in 1981, has long been invested in the maintenance and rehabilitation of the gorgeous greenery that spans 13 blocks through Morningside Heights and Harlem. Despite being at the center of one of 11 designated Scenic Landmarks in the NYC area, the waterfall hasn’t worked since approximately 2018 (it was restored the year prior, but broke down soon after). The result? An unsightly, murky pond filled with algae.
Now, FOMP is calling on the New York City Parks Department to complete all of the necessary adjustments in order to prevent further pump failures, and a loyal volunteer has posted a petition. Since going live on June 10, it has over 1,600 signatures. Brad Taylor, the org’s president, said in a statement to ILTUWS, “The overwhelming positive response to this petition is proof of the cherished place the Morningside Park pond and waterfall have in our community.”
Clearly, Taylor is correct, with comments on the petition echoing similar sentiments. “The waterfall was wonderful, both aesthetically and ecologically, and I miss it. Birds, amphibians, and fish also rely on the pond — please restore its health,” one local wrote. Others noted their desire to see children be able to enjoy the park to its full potential, while another person acknowledged that the algae polluting the pond is detrimental to dogs.
For a bit of backstory, the grounds surrounding the 20-foot high waterfall were originally intended to be a Columbia University athletic facility, but student protests halted construction back in 1968. The foundation — which had already been carved out — left a large crater, which ultimately became the pond years later.