Wave Hill

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Wave Hill
NYC Landmark No. 0131
Wave hill house, August 2019.jpg
Wave Hill House
Wave Hill is located in New York City
Wave Hill
Wave Hill is located in New York
Wave Hill
Wave Hill is located in the United States
Wave Hill
LocationWest 249th Street and Independence Avenue
Coordinates40°53′55″N 73°54′47″W / 40.89861°N 73.91306°W / 40.89861; -73.91306Coordinates: 40°53′55″N 73°54′47″W / 40.89861°N 73.91306°W / 40.89861; -73.91306
Area20.9 acres (8.5 ha)
Architectural styleColonial Revival, Greek Revival
NRHP reference No.83001646[1]
NYCL No.0131
Significant dates
Added to NRHPSeptember 9, 1983
Designated NYCLJune 21, 1966

Wave Hill is a 28-acre (11 ha) estate in the Hudson Hill section of Riverdale in the Bronx, New York City. Wave Hill currently consists of public horticultural gardens and a cultural center, all situated on the slopes overlooking the Hudson River, with expansive views across the river to the New Jersey Palisades. The estate includes two houses and a botanical garden. The oldest part of the main house, Wave Hill House, dates back to 1843; Glyndor House dates from 1927 and contains a multi-room art gallery. Perkins Visitor Center, which was originally a garage, contains a gift shop and an information desk.

During the late 19th century and early 20th century, numerous highly notable people resided in Wave Hill, either because they owned it, leased it, or stayed there as guests. In 1960, the estate was given to the City of New York, and Wave Hill is now a cultural center as well as a garden. In addition to visual arts exhibits, paid-ticket concert series take place on some Sunday afternoons in Armor Hall. Wave Hill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a New York City designated landmark.


The original Wave Hill House was a gray fieldstone mansion built in 1843 by lawyer William Lewis Morris.[2] It was owned from 1866 to 1903 by publisher William Henry Appleton, who enlarged the house in between 1866 and 1869 and again in 1890, and added greenhouses and gardens to the grounds.[2] During these years, the house was visited by Thomas Henry Huxley, who helped Charles Darwin bring evolution by natural selection to the public's attention. Theodore Roosevelt's family rented Wave Hill during the summers of 1870 and 1871, and Mark Twain leased it from 1901 to 1903.[3]

The house was purchased in 1903 by George Walbridge Perkins, a partner of J. P. Morgan, along with adjacent property, including Glyndor, a house built by the Harriman family in 1888, which later burned down and was rebuilt in 1927.[2] In 1910, Perkins added an underground building for recreation which included a bowling alley.[2] Perkins performed extensive landscaping on the site and leased Wave Hill House to an eminent ichthyologist, Bashford Dean of the American Museum of Natural History, who built a stone addition to the building as a private museum, Armor Hall.

Other famous residents of the estate included the conductor Arturo Toscanini (1942–1945) and chief members of the British Delegation to the United Nations (1950–1956).[2] In 1960, at the suggestion of Robert Moses, the Perkins-Freeman family deeded Wave Hill to the City of New York.[2] In 1983, the estate was added to the roster of the National Register of Historic Places.[1] Before 1987, the estate was known as Perkins Garden. During that year Parks Commissioner Henry Stern renamed it Wave Hill.[4]

In 2005, Wave Hill was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.[5][6]

On an annual basis, about 65,000 people visit Wave Hill, making it one of the most popular sites in Riverdale.[4][7]


View of Wave Hill's Pergola
View of Wave Hill's Pergola

Wave Hill's formal gardens feature a variety of plants, usually based on type. Garden areas include:

  • The T. H. Everett Alpine House, named for Thomas H. Everett, who advocated for the preservation and restoration of Wave Hill as a New York City Landmark[8] and who was mentor to its founding Director of Horticulture, Marco Polo Stufano[9]
  • Herb and Dry Gardens
  • Aquatic & Monocot Garden
  • Bee hives in the woodland area
  • The Herbert & Hyonja Abrons Woodland, 10 acres (40,000 m2) of native second-growth forest, with a woodland path that stretches around the perimeter of the property
  • The Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory—including a cactus room, a tropical room, and a palm room
    View of Wave Hill Conservatory interior
    Conservatory interior
  • The Perennial Flower Garden
  • Pergola and vistas of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades
  • Special Collections, including the Shade Border, Elliptical Garden and Conifer Slope
  • Wild Garden

Additionally, Wave Hill's gardens is a hotspot for birding in New York City, with 127 species to date — including ruby-throated hummingbirds, great blue herons, and bald eagles.[10]

It also abuts Riverdale Park


Wave Hill offers a variety of programming around horticulture, the arts, and education.


The Shop[11] contains gifts from local artists as well as nature-themed and handmade items. The Shop is located in the Perkins Visitors Center.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Herman, Michele, "Wave Hill" in Jackson, Kenneth T., ed. (1995). The Encyclopedia of New York City. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300055366.
  3. ^ "Cultural Resource Information System (CRIS)" (Searchable database). New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved August 1, 2016. Note: This includes Larry E. Gobrecht (May 1983). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Wave Hill" (PDF). Retrieved August 1, 2016. and Accompanying 19 photographs
  4. ^ a b "Wave Hill Highlights : NYC Parks".
  5. ^ Roberts, Sam (July 6, 2005). "City Groups Get Bloomberg Gift of $20 Million". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "News". Carnegie.org. 2005.
  7. ^ Sommer, Jack (November 5, 2015). "One of the oldest and most beautiful parks in New York is hidden in the Bronx — and the fall season just makes it more breathtaking". Business Insider. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  8. ^ James, George (September 28, 1986). "Thomas H. Everett Dies at 83; Major Figure in Horticulture". The New York Times. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  9. ^ "T.H. Everett Alpine House & Terrace". Wave Hill. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  10. ^ "eBird--Wave Hill". eBird. Retrieved August 10, 2020.
  11. ^ "The Shop". WaveHill.org.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]