Garden Variety

No matter how much pride you take in your backyard, it doesn’t stand a chance compared with attorney Samuel Untermyer’s 150-plus-acre masterpiece. Designed circa 1916 by William Welles Bosworth—the same architect used by John D. Rockefeller—Untermyer Gardens quickly became a crown jewel of Yonkers that welcomed visitors up through the 1930s.

One of the four waterways of the Walled Garden

This prodigious parcel demanded the attention and talent of 60 gardeners to maintain it. Supporting those tireless efforts are features drawn from not only the world’s great religions but also its ancient cultures, including 2,000-year-old cipollito marble columns brought in from Rome, synergistically uniting the Old World and New World in a ballet of timeless beauty and harmony. 

In the time elapsing after Untermyer’s death, in 1940, the gardens became overgrown and declined. In 1946, the City of Yonkers acquired the core of what is today a 43-acre tract. Thanks to the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy, a major initiative was launched in 2011 to restore the gardens to their erstwhile glory. Today, Untermyer Gardens enchant guests of all ages, with 50,000 people visiting them in the past year alone. For the low, low price of practically nothing, you can take a stroll down the Vista stairs to stare out at the Hudson River and Palisades, wax wistful by the Walled Garden’s reflective pools or maybe even propose to your significant other at the Temple of Love.

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For obvious reasons, no pets are allowed in the gardens, but do keep an eye on the kids, as the gardens provide the ultimate venue for meta-level hide-and-seek. No matter how your time in the gardens is spent, however, the views will undoubtedly leave you with a little less speech and a lot more inspiration.

Untermyer Gardens holds tours for the public that run April to October, so this month is your last chance until 2017 to behold their ineffable majesty. The every-Sunday docent tours are $10 per person, while the monthly President’s Tour is $20 per person. Children under 12 get in free. For more info, visit


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