About the Park


Riverside Park is a lovely 18-acre wooded open space that rises from the Thames River to the Northeast New London neighborhood and the new Winthrop Elementary STEM Magnet School.

The park was created by the City of New London in 1893 with land acquired from the Post Hill Improvement Company, and by 1910 it had expanded to nearly 33 acres thanks to gifts from S.D. Lawrence and F.B. Brandegee and from the Palmer Brothers. Over the last 50 years, parcels have been transferred to the adjacent US Coast Guard Academy, and the park now covers about 18 acres. Once a popular recreation spot - for games, picnicking, swimming and viewing the annual Yale-Harvard Regatta - Riverside Park became isolated due to the construction of I-95 and urban renewal, and it gradually fell into disrepair and disuse. All the while, some New Londoners continued to visit the park and value it as a hidden gem whose unique landscape and sweeping views offered peaceful respite from the stresses of their everyday lives.

The City of New London has from time to time attempted to sell the remainder of the park. In fall 2010, City Manager Martin Berliner signed a contract with the USCGA to sell 9 central acres for $2.9 million. Contingent upon approval by the voters, the question was included on the ballot in November 2011: “Shall the City of New London sell a portion of Riverside Park to the Federal Government?” The measure failed, and the park today remains under city ownership and available for public use.

In 2011, a diverse coalition of individuals and organizations came together in support of Riverside Park, holding clean-ups, community gatherings, and recreational and cultural events in the park and its surrounding neighborhood. Recently, the City of New London has renewed its commitment to maintaining the park, improving access, clearing underbrush and opening up the panoramic views of the Thames River.