The ending of Cuban Week, which this year celebrated the thirty-sixth anniversary  of Cuban independence, was observed yesterday by the Comite Pro-Cuba in a brief ceremony at 1.30 P.M. in the plaza at 156th Street and Riverside Drive.
New York Times
May 23, 1938

Other [Memorial Day] ceremonies tomorrow include the following in Manhattan:

1 P.M. - Riverside Drive and 156th Street; Charles and Murray Gordon Post, Jewish War Veterans.
New York Times
May 30, 1948

Frank, what'cha gonna do?  Shoot a six-year old Puerta Rican kid on the street?  He don't know nothin'. He don't even speak English.

Shot on this location, 1980
Starring Gena Rowlands
Directed by John Cassavetes

In the presence of his deputies and Mayor La Guardia at Police Headquarters yesterday, Commissioner Valentine announced the elevation of Deputy Chief Inspector Louis F. Costuma to the rank of chief inspector, to fill the vacancy left last week by the retirement of Alexander C. Anderson...The new chief inspector was born May 20, 1883.  He is married and lives at 775 Riverside Drive.  He is a quiet, soft-spoken man, whose chief contribution to the departrment was his work as head of the juvenile Aid Bureau...
New York Times
January 11, 1939

Now, cross the street to 765 Riverside Drive and follow Riverside Drive around the bend. The next building on your left is 775 Riverside Drive, which at first glance appears to joined to 765 because of the similarity in architecture.The New York State Legislature approved a charter for the 775 Riverside Drive Corporation on December 20, 1926, but the corporation did not build on the site for several years due to ongoing activity to save the Audubon house and turn the river frontage into a park. Although the building sites on the site of Victor Audubon's house, when it converted from rental to condos in 2015, the developers chose to name it the "John James."

Reflecting the needs of Depression-era New York, apartments are smaller and offer fewer amenties than those in the Beaux Arts structures on the other side of Riverside Dirve. In February 1932, the New York Times classified section advertised apartments at the “new building” from 2 ½ to 4 rooms, with 2 baths and gas refrigeration.Rents ranged from $65 to $125 a month. 

Charles and Murray Gordon Memorial Park
In front of you, in the center of Riverside Drive, is a focal point of this neighborhood. Though a neighborhood committee attempted to have this park named Audubon Park in the early 1900s, it had no official name until the Charles and Murray Gordon Post of the Jewish War Veterans dedicated it to the Gordons in 1925. Just inside the gate on the eastern side are plaques commemorating these men, who died within days of each other in October 1918, at the end of World War I, one in combat, the other in hospital.The magnificent plane trees date from the late 1920s. An early photograph shows a splendid fountain in the cement enclosure, complete with mermaid, but it has been empty for years, and no other photographs, before or after, show the fountain, so it may never have existed on site.

Walk a little farther on Riverside Drive, until you are about even with the northern end of the oval park (the opposite end from the octagonal stone structure). From this spot, where a house once sat, you can see the entire Riverside Drive frontage in Audubon Park and can admire the architectural harmony among neighboring buildings, one of the principals of the Beaux arts style.

At your far right is the Vauxhall, which you have already examined. Next is Rhinecleff Court, then the Riviera, and then the imposing, triangular Grinnell, which from this vantage-point resembles a massive ship ready to set sail down Riverside Drive to the Hudson. Up the street at your far left, you can see the Sutherland, an elegant copper-domed building on a three-story limestone base. If you look across the oval park and up 156th Street, you will have a fine view of the ornate cross and bell atop the Church de Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza (Our Lady of Hope), which you will examine in a few moments. 

Excepting the Sutherland, all of these buildings sit on property once owned by the Grinnell family. At first, intending to develop this land themselves, they retained George Fred Pelham to design several six-story apartment dwellings that would have fronted Riverside Drive; however, they soon decided to sell the land to real estate developers, who erected what you see before you.

Through the 1920s, the view from this spot must have been stunning. Looking inward, as you are doing now, you would have seen these majestic apartment buildings framing this lovely little park (though without the towering plane trees). Turning one-hundred and eighty degrees, you would have had a beautiful panoramic view of the Hudson River and Palisades.
Riverside Oval Park, 1938
(click to enlarge)
Riverside Oval Park and Fountain
(click to enlarge)
Audubon House and Riverside Drive
(click to enlarge)
One of Many Postcards Showing Riverside Drive at 155th Street with the Audubon House Adjacent
Riverside Drive, the Fountain in the Oval Park, Audubon's House, and the Hudson.
A New York Times Photograph of the Memorial Park in 1938
Continue your walk . . .
Funded by the Audubon Park Alliance