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Monday, March 14, 2011

Rose Hill Park

Rose Hill Park in the Bronx might take the prize for the biggest contrast between name and reality of all New York City parks.

First, the name. Rose Hill Park is the remnant of the large Watt family estate called Rose Hill, which was in turn named after the family's seat back in Scotland. Here is a picture of a real "rose hill" in Duthie Park near Aberdeen, Scotland:

Rose Hill

And here's Rose Hill Park, the Bronx. Pretty similar, right?

The city has owned this land since 1896 (and provided bathrooms since 1923). It's a noisy 0.83-acre tract near the far more photogenic Fordham University campus.

I stopped by to use Rose Hill's bathroom facilities on my way to the New York Botanical Garden, which is part of Bronx Park (more on those entities in future posts), and got this stunning vista of what was the New York Central Railroad, the first railroad in the city, founded in 1831 or 1832. (Or perhaps 1853, depending on what source you read. Railroad buffs, please chime in with your superior knowledge.)

Metro North uses these tracks now (although I got here via the D train). Stay tuned for a post on my visit to the Botanical Garden and the Orchid Show. But spare a thought for little Rose Hill Park, its pleasant landscaping, benches, and conveniently located bathrooms. Once called Fordham Square, it was renamed Rose Hill Park in 1945. What's the difference between a Square and a Park? I'd say that's a question it's just not polite to ask in New York.