1. For Most of Its Existence, the Hippo Playground in Riverside Park Had No Hippos

Photograph Courtesy of Riverside Park Conservancy

One of the smallest parts of Riverside Park is full of big surprises: hippos. The Hippo Playground was created in 1937, but the hippos were not put in until 1993 when the Hippo Playground Project hired a designer to create the statues. Some of the hippos appear to be “submerged” in the ground, while other standing statues are scattered around the park seemingly interacting with their fellow hippos. The hippos recall a similar project of 27 seal sculptures designed by Gerry Augustine Lynas in New York’s East River Park. Similarly to the East River Park seals, the hippos double as sprinklers for children and adults to frolic through during the warmer months.