Girlhood Walk, Riverside Park

dogwalk
A young Dorothy Rothschild and friend at the monument.

In the best biography written about Dorothy Parker, What Fresh Hell is This? by Marion Meade, are two photos of young Dorothy Rothschild on family outing in January 1906. The scene in the pictures is at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, located at 89th Street and Riverside Drive.

Soldiers and Sailors
This monument to Civil War veterans is where young Dottie would come to walk her dogs.
This would have only been a short walk from the family home on the Upper West Side. The family had recently lost their stepmother, Eleanor, and were living at 310 West 80th Street. Dorothy always had a pet dog, as the book photo shows, and Riverside Park is a prime place to bring dogs.

When Dorothy was young, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument was brand new. It was completed in 1902, at a time when nostalgia for the Civil War was high. The marble monument and terraces fill a portion of Riverside Park.

The cylindrical building is an enlarged version of the Hellenistic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens. There are names inscribed to Sherman and Farragut, along with battles such as Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Antietam.

This is a great place to bring a book. You will only share the spot with a few others and the ubiquitous pigeons. Riverside Park is one of the gems of New York City Parks, and worth a visit.