Today, an errand took me to downtown Yonkers, a place I hadn't been in quite some time. I am happy to say that the daylighting of the Saw Mill River, so named because Adriaen van der Donck (the "jonkheer" for whom Yonkers is named) built a sawmill near the mouth of the river, looks to be a major success. The river was directed through a flume and covered by a parking lot in the 1920s, in an effort to manage sanitation and control flooding (though a lot of anti-flooding engineering projects actually compound flooding problems). The resulting parking lot was an eyesore, and the downtown area became less-than-desirable real estate.
The "daylighted" river forms the centerpiece of the charming new Van Der Donck Park. For a good encapsulation of the transition from grotty parking lot to sweet downtown park, this video shows in three and a half minutes everything you need to know.
Here's the view of the river upstream from the footbridge which spans it:
Here's the view downstream, with the Yonkers Metro North station in the background. The river runs back into a "flume", visible on the right hand side, and flows under the Metro North Hudson line tracks:
It remains to be seen if the "daylighting" of the river will have a lasting economic impact on Yonkers'downtown. I sure hope that it does. Downtown has some lovely attractions, including the Riverfront Library, the pier, and Phillipse Manor Hall. Already, the project has brought new residents to the downtown area.