by Joe Rickles –
On June 15, a sidewalk was opened next to Riverside Drive in Philipse Manor. The new pathway allows for those walking to understand the beauty of the Hudson River not just by looking out at it, but also by looking down at the sidewalk itself.
Engraved into the walkway are 11 poems, eight of which are by local writers. These poems were chosen in a contest organized by the Hudson Valley Writers Center with the theme of the river’s natural beauty. In addition to the local poets, works by Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, and Pablo Neruda are also engraved.
Design committee member and local resident Anne White is one of the people who pushed for this project to be included in the sidewalk. She explained she got the idea from Saint Paul, Minnesota, where White lived until two years ago, which has more than 1,000 poems engraved along its streets.
Kathleen Williamson was one of the winners of the contest with her poem “Christmas Eve, Croton Point.” “I was thrilled, and I just thought it would be read by more people this way than if it was in a literary journal,” she said.
The project began after the Village of Sleepy Hollow was given a $300,000 grant from the New York Bridge Authority through the New York Bridge Community Benefits program. “The existing walkway was in poor condition and rarely used by pedestrians and commuters,” said Trustee John Leavy, who served as liaison to the Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees for the committee that undertook this project.
“I consider this stretch of Riverside Drive to be phase one of a larger plan,” said Leavy. He said future stages include extending the sidewalk to the Philipse Manor train station and improving the lighting and sidewalks north of Hunter Avenue in Sleepy Hollow Manor.
“We have a unique opportunity to help pedestrians enjoy walking along the Hudson River and experience the natural beauty year-round,” Leavy said.