Waterfront Amphitheatre at Riverbank State Park. Photo: Magnus Bäck, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Improvements Slated for the Track and Field, Arts Center, and Locker Rooms at New York City’s Most Visited Park

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a $26 million investment in Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park in Harlem. The investment includes the renovation of the 30-year-old locker room facilities, upgrades to the outdoor track and field and the performing arts center.

“The Harlem community deserve access to green space, top notch sports facilities, and recreational opportunities and today we are delivering just that in the City’s most-visited State Park, Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park,” Governor Hochul said. “Through this $26 million investment, we will improve and modernize one of the state park system’s most unique places and begin much-needed work to restore the park as a center for sports, recreation and environmental education.” 

Due to age and heavy usage from the millions of visitors each year, the park is in need of a comprehensive renovation. Capital improvements projects to the park will include:

  • Renovating the 30-year-old locker room facilities in both the athletics and aquatics centers. The $19 million project will begin with the renovation of the athletics locker room starting in January 2023, with completion in spring 2023; the aquatics locker room renovation will start in spring 2023 and be complete spring 2024.
  • Resurfacing the outdoor track and replacing the turf field – a $5 million project set to start in February 2023 and end by June 2023.
  • Installing a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system for the park’s year-round performing arts center. The $500,000 project will start February 2023 and finish by June 2023.

Earlier this year, State Parks installed a new $1.5 million lighting tower to illuminate the outdoor track and field for evening activities and events. Additionally, the community garden was renovated to include new and expanded raised garden beds, ADA accessibility enhancements, and improved drainage and water supply.

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park is vital to the quality of life in West Harlem. Thanks to the support from Governor Hochul, these renovations will help revitalize the crucial public and recreational facilities so that the park’s many visitors can better enjoy all that it has to offer.”

State Senator Robert Jackson said, “We welcome the great news of the investment allocated by Governor Hochul to revitalize Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park, one of Manhattan’s most spectacular waterfront parks and one that I’m proud to represent in the State Senate. With this decision, the State honors the critical role that state parks and open spaces play in the quality of life in neighborhoods like West Harlem. I look forward to seeing my constituents benefitting from renovations that will increase the utility and beautification of this aptly named state park.”

State Senator Jose Serrano said, “Our state parks provide countless benefits to communities all across New York State. During the pandemic, our parks became our refuge, providing a safe place for exercise, recreation, and enjoyment. The investment and needed improvements at Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park will ensure that we can connect even more people to our beloved parks. My sincere thanks to Governor Kathy Hochul and New York State Parks for making these important renovations possible.”

Assemblymember Al Taylor said, “For nearly three decades, Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park has served as a beacon for wellness, the arts, and community togetherness in Harlem and Washington Heights and I am thrilled it is getting the funding it needs to continue offering world class green space, facilities, and educational resources to the public. Thank you, Governor Hochul, for honoring my predecessor’s namesake and for investing in New York City’s most-visited State Park. Through these modernizations and investments Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park will continue to be a recreational and cultural hub in our community for many years to come.”

Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell said, “Whether for games, gatherings, picnics, or the picturesque views, Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park remains one of the most popular parks for many New York residents – and for good reason! But being popular has meant heavy use of many of the park’s facilities, and it is clear that it’s time for some and renovations and upgrades. I am thrilled at this investment – which will help millions of residents – and thank Governor Hochul and Commissioner Kulleseid for their partnership in lifting up and improving our treasured State Parks to ensure that public space remains accessible to all.”

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said, “I’m thrilled that Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park is receiving such a transformational investment, which reflects its value to the millions of annual visitors who come for sporting events, arts performances, and waterfront relaxation. Open space and parks like Riverbank are integral to healthy communities. These much-needed improvements will help keep West Harlem and the greater uptown community connected to a vital green space.”

New York City Councilmember Shaun Abreu said, “Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park is such a staple of the West Harlem community and is deeply beloved by New Yorkers all across the city for its gorgeous waterfront views and picturesque landscape. This generous investment from Governor Hochul will go a long way in ensuring that this well-loved park continues to provide a sense of belonging and much needed recreation for local families.”

Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park has served as West Harlem’s recreational and cultural hub for nearly 30 years. The park welcomes more than three million people each year, ranking it among the most visited state parks in New York State. It serves as a community resource for an area that was once cut off from the Hudson River. Providing a four-season recreational resource for a community that has been traditionally underserved, DF Riverbank State Park is a pillar of the West Harlem community.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails, and boat launches, which were visited by a record 78.4 million people in 2021. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit parks.ny.gov, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.