, Riverside Responds

In response to recent unjust events in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, and violence on our streets around the country, The Riverside Church has been adding its voice one of the most important conversations of our time.

Morningside Heights Commencements

Manhattan School of Music Commencement
Friday May 15, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
The ceremony will take place in the spectacular Riverside Church, to be followed by a reception at MSM in the Ades Performance Space. The ceremony will also feature musical performances by graduating students. Ceremony at 12 PM at The Riverside Church and Recepetion at 2 PM at Ades Performance Space
Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York, 10027.

Union Theological Seminary Commencement
Friday May 15, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
The school’s one hundred seventy-seventh commencement will take place on May 15th. Watch live! Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, 3041 Broadway, at 121st Street, New York.

Bank Street College of Education
Friday May 15, 4:30 pm
The Bank Street College Commencement Ceremony will be held at Riverside Church, on Riverside Drive between 120th and 122nd Streets.

Barnard College Commencement Ceremony
Sunday May 17, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
This ceremony celebrates the accomplishments of graduating students from the Barnard College Class of 2014. Students’ names are read as they process across the stage. Barnard’s 123rd Commencement will take place on Sunday, May 17, 2015, at 2:00 p.m., at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Teachers College Convocation Ceremonies
Monday May 18 – Wednesday May 20
All ceremonies take place at the Cathedral church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue
See website for more information.

Columbia University Commencement Day
Wednesday May 20, 9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Columbia University Commencement is a centuries-old tradition in which the President of the University grants degrees en masse to graduating students from eighteen schools, colleges, and affiliated institutions. During this ceremony, remarkable members of the Columbia community are also recognized through the conferring of medals, awards, and honorary degrees. It is Columbia tradition that the University Commencement address is always given by the President of the University.
Morningside Campus, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027

Columbia University School of General Studies Commencement
May 20, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
This ceremony celebrates the accomplishments of graduating students of the School of General Studies Class of 2014. Students’ names are read as they process across the stage.
South Lawn, Morningside Campus, New York, NY 10027

Columbia University Business School Commencement Ceremony
May 17, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
This ceremony celebrates the accomplishments of graduating students from the Columbia Business School MBA Program Class of 2015 and individually recognizes them for their successful completion of requirements. Students’ names are read as they process across the stage.
South Lawn, Morningside Campus, New York, NY 10027

Jewish Theological Seminary, 119th Commencement
May 21, beginning at 10:30 am
The Jewish Theological Seminary’s 121st Commencement Exercises will take place on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. Family, friends, and colleagues of our graduates, the extended JTS community, and the global Jewish community are invited to view the event.
Live Stream: learn.jtsa.edu/livestream

Springtime in Morningside Heights

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Sakura Park

Located between Riverside Church and International House, Sakura Park owes its name to the more than 2000 cherry trees delivered to parks in New York City from Japan in 1912. The ideal time to visit the park is during April, when on your walk through the park you’ll be surrounded by the cherry tree blossoms. On your visit to the park, look out for it idyllic gazebo, its play area for toddlers, and its pavilion, used as a performance space by the Manhattan School of Music.

Read more

Straus Park

If you’re looking for a place to take a rest and have breakfast, lunch, or a snack, settle down in Straus Park. Straus Park is a small landscaped park on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, at the intersection of Broadway, West End Avenue, and 106th Street. The most notable feature you’ll find in the park is a bronze 1913 statue by American artist Augustus Lukeman of a nymph gazing over a calm expanse of water in memory of Ida and Isidor Straus, a United States congressman and co-owner of Macy’s, who perished on the S.S. Titanic. Straus Park overlooks Riverside Park, a scenic waterfront public park between the Hudson River and Riverside Drive.

Straus Park

Broadway, W. 106 St., W. End Ave.



The New York Buddhist Church

The New York Buddhist Church is located at 331-332 Riverside Drive between West 105 Street and West 106 Street, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The Church features a historic statue of Shinran Shonin, founder of the Jodo Shinshu school of Buddhism, in front of the New York Buddhist Church. This statue of Shinran Shonin survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, in which 150,000 people died, and 90 percent of the buildings in the city collapsed or burned. On your visit, you may walk into New York Buddhist Church during its chanting and meditations, Dharma Gathering & Study Class, or Mandala making.

The New York Buddhist Church (NYBC) is a temple of Jodoshinshu True Pure Land School Buddhism, whose head temple is Nishi-Hongwanji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Shinran Shonin (1173-1262) is the founder of this school of Buddhism.

The NYBC has been serving the New York community since 1938, and was founded by Rev. Hozen Seki with the assistance of his wife, Satomi, and concerned lay people. They all wished to share the Buddha-Dharma in America’s most populous city, which then had no center for Jodoshinshu Buddhism. Their wishes have flourished as today the Church continues to share the Buddha-Dharma here in New York.

The New York Buddhist Church

331-332 Riverside Drive (between West 105 Street and West 106 Street)

New York, NY 10025

(212) 678-0305


March is Brain Month

The Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute celebrates March as Brain Month at Columbia University. Public events across the Morningside Campus and the Medical Center will bring the excitement of new findings about the brain to people of all ages. Learn more >


Roar-ee’s Summer Camp

Roar-ee’s Cubs Camp is a day camp for children ages 6 through 12. The camp offers athletics, arts & crafts, and team-building games, all in a collegiate setting! Cubs Camp happens annually over nine weekly summer sessions, two holiday sessions, and one spring session. Campers will have access to Columbia’s top-notch Division 1 Athletic facilities, and a competent and caring staff comprised of coaches, student-athletes, and teachers. These trained staff members help campers develop their knowledge of sports, increase their love of physical activity, improve their sportsmanship, and gain athletic confidence. The goal of Roar-ee’s Cubs Camp is to provide a memorable sports summer camp experience while promoting team-work, friendship, and self-confidence in a safe community. Campers are encouraged to work, play together, try new things, and most importantly, have fun!

Cubs Camp 2015
Learn more: http://www.nmnathletics.com/


Columbia Community Scholars Program Announcement

Columbia Community Scholars Program is now seeking nominations (deadline Thursday April 24, 2014) and applications for its next class.  The program, one of the benefits associated with the Manhattanville Campus Expansion, offers independent, community-based scholars from Northern Manhattan access to a suite of Columbia University services and resources in order to work toward the completion of a particular project or to attain skill in a particular area. We hope you will share the attached application with people you think would make great candidates.  We also invite you to nominate individuals you think may make particularly strong candidates. For more information, see http://gca.columbia.edu/columbia-community-scholars-program

Phoenix: Xu Bing at the Cathedral


Phoenix has landed at the Cathedral! The graceful birds of myth and legend, brought to life from the discarded materials of contemporary Chinese life by artist Xu Bing, will be on view in the Nave throughout 2014.



Solar-Powered Toilets in Riverside Park Get $50K Grant

By Emily Frost on October 18, 2013 9:01am

UPPER WEST SIDE — Let there be light for these loos.

The first flushes of the neighborhood’s eco-friendly public toilets are now a little closer — thanks to a $50,000 grant to install solar panels that will power the new bathrooms at Riverside Park.

The panels are slated for an abandoned parking lot above Riverside Park’s clay tennis courts at West 96th Street as part of a project to create solar-powered composting toilets, a solar-powered tennis maintenance facility, and to transform the parking lot into a wildflower meadow.

The waste generated by the bathroom’s users will be composted and pumped up to the parking lot to feed a new wildflower garden, and the whole process will be fueled by solar power. The solar panels will also create enough energy to power the new tennis office.

The solar-powered toilets would be New York City’s first.

<p>The solar-powered bathrooms will have a grassy rooftop.&nbsp;</p>

The $6 million project, called “Green Outlook,” marks a partnership between the Riverside Park Fund and the Riverside Clay Tennis Association stemming from a lack of bathrooms in the area.

“The opening of the Hudson Riverwalk has increased bike and pedestrian traffic by thousands,” said Robin Noble-Zolin, chairwoman of Green Outlook’s steering committee, who, along Riverside Park chief administrator John Herrold, could not cite specific numbers.

“The path on the Hudson River Greenway does not have a public bathroom on the river from 79th Street to 124th Street.”

The portable toilets currently situated near the tennis courts just aren’t cutting it, she added.

“What we don’t need these days is people hovering behind trees to go… so I couldn’t be a bigger fan of this project,” said Molly MacDermot, a Riverside Park volunteer.

Project organizers are hoping to attract more funding beyond the $1.2 million already secured from outgoing City Councilwoman Gale Brewer.

The $50,000 grant, provided by solar-power company Green Mountain Energy, will pay for more than 90 percent of the panels, Noble-Zolin said.

“We chose to work with Green Outlook Project at Riverside Park because it was conceived and designed around sustainability, and will provide its thousands of visitors with a much-needed public space and an education around the use of renewable energy and resource conservation,” a Green Mountain spokeswoman said.

Green Outlook organizers wouldn’t say how much they’ve raised privately and in grants so far, but noted that slow economic recovery has affected their fundraising.

The group has also caught the eye of Helen Rosenthal, the democratic candidate for City Council in the district, who said she’d try to secure more Council funding. They have also applied for a grant through the Manhattan Borough President’s capital projects funding.

“We expect to have the money to begin the design process by mid-year 2014,” Noble-Zolin said.

COOKFOX Architects will begin the design process this coming summer, with construction starting sometime next fall, she noted.

The Green Outlook team has presented the concept to P.S. 87 and the Calhoun School, with plans to meet with P.S. 452, the High School for Law, Advocacy & Community Justice, and The Smith School, among others, to teach them about the technology.

“I think as people in the community come to know the project better, they will embrace the organic experience of building something that is necessary, is environmentally responsible, and that they’ve had a part in making happen,” Noble-Zolin added.

On Saturday, Oct. 26 at 10 a.m., the park is hosting a walkathon to raise awareness about the Green Outlook project with 2K and 5K routes beginning and ending at the Hudson River Greenway at West 95th Street.

There’s a suggested fee of $20 per person or $40 per family. A post-walkathon party from noon to 2 p.m. will feature the Dirty Sock Funtime Band and Paul Vella’s Paella at the Riverside tennis courts.


Grant’s Tomb Closed due to Government Shutdown

Because of the federal government shutdown, all national parks are closed and National Park Service webpages are not operating. For more information, go to www.doi.gov.


Volunteer Opportunity Available!

Morningside Area Alliance is seeking a team of Neighborhood Guides with a passion for architecture and exploring new neighborhoods for a one-time volunteer opportunity during the weekend, on October 12 or October 13.

You will work as part of a team of volunteers and neighborhood residents to introduce thousands of visitors to Morningside Heights, also known as Manhattan’s Oasis on the Hill, or “Academic Acropolis.” Guides will give directions (training provided), distribute a beautiful color promotional brochure of neighborhood sites, and participate in the day’s events including walking tours, site visits, and performances.  Ultimately, as part of this experience, you will gain an insider’s knowledge about some truly unique architectural sites, exploring hidden parts of the city with other community-minded individuals. This special event is part of Open House New York, a nonprofit dedicated to exploring the architecture, design and cultural heritage of the City.


gilberto@morningsidealliance.org or 212-749-1570

Let us know when you are available!