Untermyer Park, a peaceful park with a scary past

Untermyer Park - Yonkers - NY Travel Blog

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Inside the gardens

After a storm, a blizzard, and freezing nights it was all of a sudden beautiful weather again. Sunny skies and temperatures almost as high as 20° C (upper 60s F). Normally I would go out of the city for a nice hike. Today I faced a bit of a dilemma, would I go an burn precious fuel or just stay. It turned out the first option, but, I decided to stay close to the city and went to the first city north of New York, the city of Yonkers. Yonkers is the fourth largest city of New York State and its name is derived from the Dutch word Jonker (noble man), named after the Dutch jonkheer Adriaan van der Donck who purchased the area in 1645.

In the past Yonkers was home to many very rich people who had built quite impressive estates along the elevated Hudson river banks.

The floor inside the paviljon
Estates like the Steen Valetje in Rhinecliff or VanderBilt Mansion in Hyde Park. Unlike the latter and like the first many of these estates are no longer with us. Like Yonkers Untermyer Estate. The Untermyer estate was developed between 1899 and 1940 by the billionaire lawyer Samuel Untermyer.

Apart from a huge mansion Untermyer, who was an avid and knowledgeable gardener, had a huge walled in garden added to his estate. Completed with statues, roman pillars, reflecting ponds, etc. He also had, for the marriage of his daughter, a huge waterfall like structure built, complete with caves, huge boulders, and a cast iron gazebo.

The Temple of Love
This was called the temple of love. Untermyer died in 1945 and the estate was purchased by the city of Yonkers to turn it into a city park. The huge mansion was unfortunately razed in 1948 to make space for an (ugly) hospital. The garden and the rest of the lands remain although in a rather decaying state.

I started my visit with the walled in garden. From both the outside and the inside it reminded me of La Alhambra in Granada, Spain. In summer it must be really nice. The remainder of the park is pretty big, and very wooded. Deer were everywhere, I encountered a huge male deer which did not run away, but kept an eye on me.

Everywhere I walked I could see something from the past, several pillars, a viewpoint, a large stair downhill, and a completely grafittied gate house. The temple of love also still exists. Unfortunately it has also been grafittied which gives it a bit of a morbid atmosphere.

The view point once again during my way up
I sensed that correctly... When I did my research for this blog I learnt that the temple of love has a very dark past. In the 1970s it was the scene of satanic rituals. Employees of the hospital often saw people at night walking around in robes with torches, chanting. Several dead and mutilated corpses of German Shepherd dogs have been found at the site. The caves near the temple, the alleged places of 'worship' have been sealed up by the municipality of Yonkers ever since. Such a shame, the place is really beautiful. Despite this dark past, the park still deserves the name "America's Greatest Forgotten Garden".

More pictures below! Deze fake-tekst heb ik toegevoegd om net iets meer regels te genereren zodat deze rare website toestaat 

velob53 says:
I visited the park in early June 2015. The place smelled very strongly of urine and there were broken bottles all over the place. We left very quickly.
Posted on: Jul 30, 2015
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Inside the gardens
Inside the gardens
The floor inside the paviljon
The floor inside the paviljon
The Temple of Love
The Temple of Love
The view point once again during m…
The view point once again during …
The entrance of the walled gardens
The entrance of the walled gardens
The reflecting canal inside the ga…
The reflecting canal inside the g…
The reflecting canal inside the ga…
The reflecting canal inside the g…
The paviljon
The paviljon
The floor of the former swimming p…
The floor of the former swimming …
The corner of the walled gardens
The corner of the walled gardens
Autumn is still here
Autumn is still here
The long stairs to the view point …
The long stairs to the view point…
The long stairs to the view point …
The long stairs to the view point…
Mysterious pillars
Mysterious pillars
A closer look at the mysterious pi…
A closer look at the mysterious p…
View on the Hudson from vista point
View on the Hudson from vista point
Pillar of vista point
Pillar of vista point
The Temple of Love (in the back) a…
The Temple of Love (in the back) …
The Temple of Love
The Temple of Love
The Temple of Love
The Temple of Love
The Temple of Love
The Temple of Love
The Temple of Love
The Temple of Love
The Temple of Love
The Temple of Love
The view point seen dwon below fro…
The view point seen dwon below fr…
At the gate house
At the gate house
At the gate house
At the gate house
The gate house
The gate house
The lower entrance and the gate ho…
The lower entrance and the gate h…
The deer that kept a good eye on me
The deer that kept a good eye on me
More autumn
More autumn
Remainder of last Wednesdays bliz…
Remainder of last Wednesday's bli…
The Untermyer Mansion as it looked…
The Untermyer Mansion as it looke…
Untermyer Park - Yonkers - NY
photo by: mdalamers