On my weekend outings with the dogs, I try to wander, breaking off our well-worn routes in Riverside Park or Central Park in the hopes of coming upon something I've never seen before. Today I was rewarded with the discovery of the Amiable Child Monument on Riverside Drive at 123rd St., just north of General Grant's Tomb.
One of only a few private burial sites on public lands in the city, it's a memorial to St. Claire Pollack, a five-year-old boy who in 1797, at the age of five, fell to his death on the cliffs of the Hudson River. The original monument was erected further down the hill, closer to the river and the actual site of the boy's death. It has been replaced twice due to deterioration; the current monument was erected in 1967 and is surrounded by a wrought-iron gate.
My discovery is hardly rare, as I've uncovered a number of blog posts and Web sites about it this afternoon. Nonetheless, the surprise of coming upon it on such a gorgeous, nearly-spring day, underscores how the city continually reveals itself unexpectedly, provoking you to view your own well-worn routes with new eyes.
More on the Amiable Child Monument
In addition to the Riverside Park Fund's Web page about the monument (linked to above), check out Amiable Child (April 17, 2009), from the War of Yesterday blog, a detailed account of the memorial's history, including current and historic photos.
More on the Neighborhood
For more information on this neighborhood and other sites in the area, read my post Morningside Heights Walking Tour.