Running Free at Untermeyer

Recently I was re-reading that wonderful book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler when I came across the description of the bed that the kids sleep in while they’re hiding out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. According to Mrs. Frankweiler, the bed was donated to the museum by Untermeyer. Whether or not this is true I’m not sure, but considering the opulence of the Grecian gardens at the historic estate site in Yonkers, an antique curtained bed is easily believed.And I was delighted that I knew who Untermeyer was when I came to that passage–information that I surely did not have when I read the book nearly 30 years ago (aack).

Untermeyer’s glorious gardens were the site of our Wacky Wednesday romp on a perfect October afternoon this week. And though we bypassed the trail leading toward the Old Croton Aqueduct, the grounds and the remaining structures provided us with plenty of diversion.

The gardens are arranged on two tiers, the uppermost tier being home to a huge cross-shaped configuration of canal-like fountains as well as to a truly enormous columned Greek temple. There is also an ampitheater, statues and more columns around the perimeter. The focal point of the lower level is a now-empty, mosaic tiled pool flanked by expansive lawns on either side. It wasn’t clear whether the fountains on the upper terrace drained down to the pool, but that seems likely.

On the northern side of the garden is a long stone staircase leading down toward the OCA. I imagine that it is accessible from the trail below, however, the top of the staircase ends at at a gated garden entrance which was locked. The entire garden area sports sweeping views of the Hudson River. We could only imagine it at it’s heyday. For our intents and purposes, it was a wonderful space for running, climbing and a long game of tag.

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