Gateway unveiled at Dutch Gardens County Park
BY MICHAEL RICONDA
NEW CITY – As one of the hidden gems of Rockland, the tiny Dutch Garden County Park has long been invisible to even longtime county residents. Now, with a new entrance linked directly to a revitalized stretch of Main Street, the hope is that the somewhat obscure spot will be accessible to a larger number of county residents.
County Executive Ed Day joined county and town officials to cut the ribbon for the new park gateway, the final piece of a larger park restoration project and invited residents to visit the oft overlooked park.
“I want to encourage everybody in Rockland County to take a moment, when they’re in the area, to come and see Dutch Gardens,” Day said. “It has been hidden for so long. It is truly a jewel in the center of the county of Rockland and it is really a centerpiece for the hamlet of New City.”
The three acre park was the former site of a landfill before self-taught horticulturalist Mary Mowbray-Clarke recreated the space between 1934 and 1936, complete with a tea house with a fireplace and bandstand, a gazebo and paths. Much of the original design was done in a Dutch style to commemorate the area’s original Dutch settlers for whom the park was named.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt famously held tea at the location, partially funded by WPA grants.
The county purchased the property in 2008 and has updated it since. The most recent renovations added a sitting patio at the stone front gateway and improved sight lines of the park itself. The tea house, once obscured, is now in full view from Main Street and as far as First Street.
In addition, the park now has an 18-space parking area for easy access. Total construction costs for the work came to $244,286.
Since its construction, the park has received numerous awards, including first prize in the 1965 Annual Civic Beautification Contest and the Readers Digest Foundation’s 1968 National Award Showcase of Beauty Contests.