Sherman Creek Park, a former illegal dumping site, began as a shore cleanup and now encompasses 15 beautifully reclaimed acres along the Harlem River including Swindler Cove, Riley-Levin Children’s Garden, and a living shoreline installation. The neighboring Harlem River Greenway includes a sprawling esplanade, bike path, and a cherry tree planting framing the Harlem River Drive.
The park serves to demonstrate sustainable management of public lands in an underserved neighborhood, from hosting a major community green space in Northern Manhattan, to implementing organic gardening techniques and best horticultural practices on a daily basis.
NYRP’s work in Sherman Creek and the surrounding landscape recognizes the remarkable value of natural resources found in Northern Manhattan and works to improve and support public access to Manhattan’s largest remaining wetland complex.
NYRP is responsible for conceiving, developing, executing and maintaining the vibrant and versatile Swindler Cove at Sherman Creek Park, a former illegal dumping site transformed by NYRP into a gorgeous green space. The 5-acre space is home to the Riley-Levin Children’s Garden.
Swindler Cove represents the crown jewel of New York Restoration Project’s public park projects. Opened to the public in August 2003, Swindler Cove represents the full spectrum of NYRP’s mission to restore open space as a catalyst for community revitalization and environmental conservation.
In 1999, in partnership with the State of New York Department of Transportation and acclaimed landscape designer Billie Cohen, NYRP transformed the land into an oasis of native natural habitats with a lush array of restored woodlands, wetlands, native plantings and a freshwater pond, accented by a gracious pathway.
Sherman Creek Park is threatened by climate change-induced erosion and sea level rise and in 2020 we introduced an ecosystem-based solution called a living shoreline.
Integrating native plantings and an artificial oyster reef, our living shoreline design aims to not only attenuate waves that wash away sediment but also enhance the native wetland habitat—one of the last of its kind in all of Manhattan. By stacking specialized concrete blocks called Oyster Castles, its design helps build new habitat for marine species that, over time, could transform the dynamics of a park that we might otherwise lose.
We continue to monitor the shoreline’s evolution to better understand and quantify the ecosystem services that urban wetland restoration projects like ours might offer. “We know that, acre per acre, wetlands are better than forests at fighting climate change,” says Director of Northern Manhattan Parks Jason Smith. “It just requires shifting our relationship with the landscape and realizing it’s not about building a big project and walking away; it’s about staying engaged, stewarding it, and learning from it.”
3725 10th Ave.
New York, NY 10034 Manhattan, New York (Inwood)
Biking, composting, gardening, picnicking, running, walking, waterfront access