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HomeRidesExploring the Yonkers Waterfront, Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden, & a Daylighted Park on Juneteenth

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Exploring the Yonkers Waterfront, Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden, & a Daylighted Park on Juneteenth

We will ride from the Harlem Meer in Central Park to Yonkers, where we will be stopping at the Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden along the Hudson River. Along the way, we will stop at Phillipse Manor, where the Phillipse family accrued great wealth through, among other things, the enslavement of Africans. It is thought that the Phillipse family had 125 or more slaves.

We will also discuss the City of Yonkers’ intentional racial segregation of schools and housing during many of our lifetimes), its scorched-earth resistance to a federal court’s order to desegregate, and relented only when faced with crippling fines that threatened to bankrupt the City and layoff scores of City employees.

We will also visit a former parking lot in that was unpaved, daylighted, and transformed in 2011 into Van Der Donk Park (restored paradise, tore down a parking lot, apologized to Joni Mitchell). Along the way, we will stop at a statue of Abraham Lincoln that was dedicated in 1929.


Debuting in 2022, the Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden is an exhibition of five life-size bronze sculptures depicting freed slaves. The sculptures, named “Themba the Boatman,” “I’Satta,” “Bibi,” “Sola,” and “Olumide,” reside in a half-acre rain garden along the Hudson River esplanade in Yonkers, and the interactive installation allows guests to view the art from 360 degrees and appreciate the landscaped greenery of the work. Artist Vinnie Bagwell is the creative force behind the installation. A Westchester native, Bagwell has been creating art for more than 25 years. Her work can be found across the country, with over 20 public art commissions to her name, including sculptures of Frederick Douglas, Ella Fitzgerald, and President Theodore Roosevelt. 


After being buried under a parking lot, the Saw Mill River in downtown Yonkers was restored in 2011, and waters began to flow above-ground for the first time in 90 years, recreating aquatic habitat, including a tidal pool and two freshwater pools. The area is now called Van Der Donk Park.

We will pick up lunch and eat on the waterfront, then return to Manhattan.

Mileage: 24 miles

Ride With GPS:

Cue Sheet: Yonkers Waterfront, Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden & a Daylighted Park

Wednesday, June 19, 2024, 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada) (UTC-05:00)
Charles A. Dana Center, Central Park
34 Central Park N
New York, NY  10026

Additional Info:
Ride Leader(s):
Eric Brooks
Wendy Frank
Moderate Rides 12-15mph
Registration is required
Payment In Full In Advance Only
Available Slots:
No Fee