Tucked within the upscale neighborhood of Hudson Hill located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, sits the charming and grounds of Wave Hill. The now public gardens and the cultural center began as a 28-acre estate built for William Lewis Morris, a well-known lawyer. Quickly thereafter the home changed hands to publisher William Henry Appleton, who owned and enlarged the house from 1866 to 1903.
During these years the property came to life and more closely resembled its current iteration. Wondrous gardens and greenhouses were added during the expansion making Wave Hill a destination for Theodore Rosevelt, Mark Twain, and those alike. In 1903, the home was purchased by J.P Morgan partner, George Walbridge Perkins. Glyndor, the estate adjacent, was purchased by Perkins as well. In 1960 the grounds along with the two homes were left to the city of New York at the suggestion of Robert Moses.
Sixty years later, the property remains in all its glory. I took it upon myself to visit Wave Hill after learning about it through TikTok. Although I hate to admit my source, if TikTok is good for anything it is discovering hidden gems in one's town.
I arrived in Riverdale after a quick ride from the Upper East Side via express bus. The walk from the bus stop was quaint, peaceful, and made me realize what an extraordinary section of the Bronx I had missed out on.
Before arriving at the entrance gates of Wave Hill, one is greeted by historic homes of diverse vernacular. One home in particular caught my eye. Sat upon a large corner just across from Wave Hill is a run down expansive mansion that looks as though it has not been loved in many decades. I came to find out later that day that the run-down property was the childhood of John F. Kennedy from 1927-1929.
My fascination with what once immediately took hold and I had to peak in the windows. I had hoped to see reelects of a bygone era but was just as happily greeted by the sight of a remodel taking place.
Once on the grounds of Wave Hill, I spent time exploring the immaculate gardens, sat to read, watched the scenery of the Hudson River, and visited both the Wave Hill and Glyndor houses. The fall colors were brilliant and the air was perfectly crisp. Definitely worth the short trip from the city.