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Friends of Morningside Park

Our Mission and Purpose

We are an all volunteer organization founded in 1981. Our mission and purpose is to be a catalyst for the rehabilitation and maintenance of Morningside Park in accordance with the ideals of its original designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux and its well deserved status as a Scenic Landmark of New York City.

We work with the New York City Dept. of Parks to promote responsible use of the park. In 2000 we commissioned a Master Plan for Morningside Park which was based on extensive community input. We continue to work to raise private funds and advocate for public funds to implement capital improvements called for in the plan.

We promote the enjoyment and responsible use of the park through an extensive set of programs which over the years have included arts and cultural festivals, a farmers market, film screenings, public art displays, musical and theatrical performances, sports tournaments, community picnics, park cleanups and plantings, tree lightings and holiday events.

Our History

In 1981 Tom Kiel a Columbia University undergraduate saw the deteriorating condition of our historic park. He began organizing meetings and park cleanups. At the time, the Parks Dept. was getting ready to implement large scale changes to the park which would have obliterated much of the remaining Olmsted design. Along with several other Columbia students, Tom formed the Friends of Morningside Park with an aim to halt these changes and fight for park restoration in keeping with Olmsted's design priniciples. Incorporated in 1982, the core mission of the Friends of Morningside Park has not changed to this day.

Although the world lost Tom Kiel in 1996, his work continues and we are proud and very fortunate to have members of his family, members of our original board, and volunteers from our early years still working with us.

We maintain an archive of articles about Tom and the early work of our organization. Please use the links in the right hand column of this page to read the articles.