Once serving as the gently sloping approach to the Montefiore Home for Chronic Invalids, the park is named after Sir Moses Haim Montefiore (1784-1885), a distinguished nineteenth century Jewish philanthropist. The park was formally given its current name in 1906, the same year it came under the jurisdiction of the Parks Department.
In 1993, a two-year renovation of the park saw the removal of almost all the benches and the installation of high iron gates that shut out the community from using its tree-lined, grassy interior.
History of MPNA
The Montefiore Park Neighborhood Association was established in 1994 by Ms. Alida Palma as a community effort to clean up the park and by extension, raise the quality of life in the neighborhood. The Association initiated new plantings, facilitated community involvement, and organized special events, such as the now established tradition of harkening the Christmas season with its much beloved Tree Lighting event and Holiday Fiesta.
Today, MPNA continues its original mission of drawing the Hamilton Heights community together. We do this by offering a broad spectrum of activities at or about the park, including such ongoing activities as: Gardening & Clean-Up Days, Planning Meetings, Sing for Hope’s “Pop-up Piano”, international “PARK(ing)Day”, and Playstreets for children. We’ve also helped facilitate special events such as community-visioning workshops, Mary Miss’ “Broadway: 1000 Steps”, the Tuesday Harvest Home farmer’s market, Creative Arts Workshop for Kids’ “Magic with Logic” mural, and sculptor Peter Woytuk’s bronze “Sheep Pair” installation. MPNA works closely with NYC agencies such as Partnership for Parks/Parks Department, Police and Sanitation, as well as with our local elected officials. In better defining MPNA’s service area, we collaborated with the Manhattan Borough President’s Office to create a base map of the MPNA’s scope. We also entered the world of social media by launching a Facebook page in 2012.
For the future, we advocate a new vision for Montefiore Park as a beautiful, accessible & lively public park in the heart of Hamilton Heights. We plan to facilitate another community visioning workshop with our partners at the Department of Transportation, Heritage Health & Housing and HCDC, to develop community recommendations for the redesign of Montefiore Park.