Leonard Gordon Park

 Borglum-Bear-Profilecapt2 imageHome to the best sledding in Jersey City and absolutely stunning views of the Pulaski Skyway and Secaucus, Dr. Leonard J. Gordon Park is named for one of Jersey City’s most illustrious nineteenth century citizens. Popular with local roller hockey and soccer aficionados, Gordon Park is often affectionately referred to by local residents by its nickname, Mosquito Park.
 

History
Built at the height of the City Beautiful movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, today Leonard J. Gordon Park is best know for its iconic reclining statues Buffalo and Bears, by renowned sculpture Solon Hannibal Borglum, which grace its northern and southern entrances. 

A prize-winning member of the 1875 Graduating Class of Bellevue Hospital Medical School, Dr. Gordon was a life-long civic activist. In addition to founding a medical dispensary for the indigent, he also convinced the Lorillard Tobacco Company, for whom he worked as a chemist, to open a 6000 volume reading room for all the company’s (mostly immigrant) employees. He once famously quit a local athletic club because a mail carrier was denied membership. His crowning achievement, however, was his push for and founding of the Free Public Library of Jersey City in 1894. Dr. Gordon served as supervisor of the Library until his death in 1907 at his home at 485 Jersey Avenue, which still stands today. He is also responsible for the Soldiers and Sailors Victory Monument located on Grove Street in front of City Hall. 

Amenities
Situated on nearly six acres of hilly terrain on the western slope of the Palisades between Kennedy Boulevard and Liberty Avenue in the Jersey City Heights, Leonard J. Gordon Park is nearly six acres and contains:
 

  • gazebo  
  • fenced children’s playground 
  • two basketball courts 
  • a tennis court 
  • passive open space  

In addition to the Buffalo and Bears, other park statuary includes a World War I Memorial Doughboy Statue, probably cast by the J.W. Fiske Company of New York, a granite memorial from the Raymond Sipnick Post of the Jewish War Veterans, and a bronze reclining lion. 

Leonard J. Gordon Park has been recommended for renovations and improvements by the 2008 Recreation and Open Space Master Plan. Those improvements are slated to begin in 2011. For more information on recommendations and improvements for Leonard J. Gordon Park, read more here. 

Cultural Events 

  • Indo-American Day Parade & Festiva

Dr. Lena Edwards Park

History
One of Jersey City’s most popular neighborhood parks, Dr. Lena Edwards Park on Johnston Avenue and Pine Street is named for a prominent physician and long-time Jersey City resident who was a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.

Lena Francis Edwards was born in Washington, D.C. in 1900 to a prosperous African American family. She graduated from Howard University Medical School in 1924.

Dr. Edwards was one of the first African American women to be board-certified as an obstetrician-gynecologist and gain admission to the International College of Surgeons. When she and her husband, Dr. Keith Madison, moved to Jersey City in 1924, she set up practice on Pacific Avenue in the neighborhood of Lafayette. While raising six children of her own, she dedicated her life to treating the poor and immigrant Eastern European factory workers who lived in the area. Though she was made a staff physician at Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital when it first opened in 1931, she fought to obtain residency there in obstetrics and gynecology for nearly 15 years.

Dr. Edwards left Jersey City in 1954 and returned to Howard University Medical School to teach obstetrics. In 1960, she left the Medical School to devote her time to missionary work among Mexican migrant farm workers in Hereford, Texas, where she founded the 15 bed Our Lady of Guadalupe Maternity Hospital. She was awarded the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her humanitarian work by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
During her lifetime, Dr. Edwards received many awards, commendations, and honorary degrees. In 1966, she returned to Jersey City, opening a medical practice with her daughter, Dr. Marie Metoyer. Dr. Edwards died in 1986 in her home in Lakewood, NJ.

Amenities
This small neighborhood park features:

  • a lighted basketball court
  • a partially fenced children’s playground
  • ample seating for parents and caregivers

Dr. Lena Edwards Park has been recommended for renovations and improvements, beginning in 2012, by the 2008 Recreation and Open Space Master Plan. For more information on recommendations and improvements for Dr. Lena Edwards Park, read more here.

Recreational Events 

  • Outdoor Seasonal (Summer Leagues) Basketball. Read more.

J. Owen Grundy Park 

History
Jutting out into the Hudson River, and offering superb views of Lower Manhattan, Liberty State Park, and the Jersey City waterfront, J. Owen Grundy Park pier and pavilion is located at the foot of Montgomery Street, in Exchange Place. After extensive reconstruction and renovations, including a rebuilt seawall and historic style lighting, much to the delight of the surrounding historic Paulus Hook neighborhood, Grundy Park was re-opened to the public in July of 2008. A popular spot for lunch and summertime relaxation, the park features game tables and seating for visitors and fishermen.

Named for famed local preservationist J. Owen Grundy, throughout the warmer months, Grundy Park is often the location for many of the City’s Tapestry of Nations Festivals and performances, including the immensely popular summertime Jazz for Lunch Concert Series, sponsored by Jersey City’s Division of Cultural Affairs. It is easily accessible by the PATH trains and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail. 

Amenities
This waterfront pier park features:

  • the waterfront promenade
  • game tables 
  • seating
  • entertainment pavilion
  • historic lighting 
  • structures for shade

Cultural Events 

  • Tapestry of Nations Festivals
  • Jazz For Lunch Summertime Concerts
  • Summer Dancefest
  • September 11th Memorial events

Van Vorst Park

History
Located in one of Jersey City’s best known historic districts, Van Vorst Park is a 1.8 acre square of elegance in Downtown. Originally donated by Cornelius Van Vorst in 1848, the park was landscaped by local seed man and horticulturalist Peter Henderson in 1851.

Surrounded by a neighborhood of 19th century brownstones, Van Vorst Park was extensively restored 1999 as a largely passive and beautifully landscaped urban green space. Its beautiful gardens are maintained by the community.

Amenities
Located at the intersection of Montgomery Street and Jersey Avenue, across from the Jersey City Free Public Library, and a few blocks southeast of the Grove Street PATH Station, Van Vorst Park features:


  • Separate playgrounds for toddlers and older children 
  • Two dog runs
  • Benches
  • Paved walkways and a plaza 
  • Benches
  • Community Gardens
  • A Fountain
  • A Gazebo
  • Open green space

Cultural Events 

  • Farmers Market
  • Shakespeare in the Park
  • Films in Van Vorst
  • Flea Market

Reservoir #3 

Wildflower meadows, a nature preserve, a beautiful lake, and family park all rolled into one, like New York City's Highline, Reservoir #3 in the Jersey City Heights is a prime example of the successful rehabilitation and re-purposing of 19th century industrial-age infrastructure to meet the needs of 21st century urban America.

Abandoned as a city reservoir in the 1970s, and protected by its massive Egyptian Revival stone walls, for years the Reservoir peaceably languished, becoming an inner city nature refuge for a wide variety of plants and trees as well as many species of wildlife, birds and fish. The 13 acre Reservoir site was long a source of contention between the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance (made up of neighborhood associations, historical preservationists and green space advocates) and developers. In 2007, the site was officially designated as a city park. It is often referred to by residents as "the Jewel" of the Heights.

Amenities
Reservoir # 3 sits adjacent to Pershing Field and is bordered by Central, Summit, and Jefferson Avenues in the Heights section of Jersey City, with the entrance on Jefferson Avenue. Reservoir #3 is closed during the late fall and winter, and re-opens to city residents in the spring. Activities at Reservoir #3 include:

  • canoeing
  • kayaking
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • bird watching
  • Romanesque pump houses
  • Egyptian Revival stone walls

Cultural Events 

  • Mayor and Municipal Council Annua Fishing Derby
  • Community Day
  • Senior Day
  • Kayak The Reservoir
  • Dog Day
  • Closing Party

In accordance with the recommendations of the Jersey City Recreation and Open Space Master Plan, Reservoir #3 is slated for improvements in 2009, among which are:

  • a canoe dock
  • restoration of the architecturally significant pump houses and surrounding stone walls
  • wetlands restoration

For more information on the planned improvements for Reservoir #3, read more.

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