Christopher Morley Park
Roslyn-North Hills, Searingtown Road, north of Long Island Expressway
On-site staff: Yes
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NEWS BRIEF: Beginning Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, non-Nassau County residents will be charged a $10 parking fee on weekends.
CHRISTOPHER MORLEY PARK, SET ON 98 ACRES AND CENTRALLY LOCATED IN THE NORTHERN PART OF THE county, has been in the Nassau County park system since 1961. The County paid $704,000 for the property, which was the former estate of Nettie Ryan and included the Links Golf Club. The park is named after Christopher Morley, one of the foremost American “men of letters” in the 20th century, a prolific writer who produced more than 50 books, including several popular novels, plays, poetry and essays. He also edited two volumes of “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations” and was a founder of the Book of the Month Club.
A great deal of Morley's work was done in a functional one-room studio called the “Knothole” (see fuller description in the list below), located on his property in Roslyn on the North Shore and constructed in 1934. “I built myself a pine-wood cabin, as aloofly as a Long Island suburb would permit, to consort with the shade of John Bartlett,” wrote Morley.
In 1966, nine years after Morley’s death, the writer’s friends and neighbors had the Knothole transferred to one of Nassau County’s parks in Roslyn-North Hills, subsequently named Christopher Morley Park. The Knothole, renovated in 2006, includes built-in bookshelves, a fireplace and a bunkbed. But the public has been most intrigued over the years by the Knothole’s “dymaxion” bathroom, which was designed in 1936 by Morley’s friend, Buckminster Fuller, the renowned scientist and inventor. It is a one-piece, pre-assembled unit.
The park provides numerous opportunities for recreation:
- There are five tennis courts (fee and Leisure Pass required);
- four lighted handball/paddleball courts;
- four basketball courts;
- and two paddle-tennis courts.
- Athletic fields include three baseball fields (softball and hardball, including Little League) and volleyball courts.
|The playground at Christopher Morley provides a variety of activities.
- A recently renovated playground provides a variety of activities, including a nontraditional climbing apparatus.
- Hobby enthusiasts can enjoy the 140- by 300-foot boat basin designed for model boats.
- There are unreserved and reserved (fee) picnic areas, which include barbecue equipment. Leisure Pass and fee required for reserved areas; call 516-571-8113. See "News & Events" below for more information.
- The park features a 9-hole, par-30 golf course. The course is 1,603 yards, with holes ranging from 97 yards to 267 yards.
Click here for link to Nassau County Golf.
- In the summer of 2007, the park introduced a one-mile Fitness Trail that provides a jogging or walking trail and 20 attractive and simple fitness stations incorporating a variety of exercises. These
include stretching, pull-ups, sit-ups and balance walking exercises that increase slightly in difficulty as the trail proceeds. The trail begins on the north side of the park entrance by Searington Road, heads east past the Dog Run and the woods before working its way past the baseball fields and playground and ending by the parking area overlooking the pond. The Fitness Trail is open year round.
|The ice skating rink is open six days a week in winter.
- Christopher Morley’s outdoor ice skating rink, a community fixture since 1966, was named by News 12 Long Island viewers as the best outdoor skating rink on Long Island. The facility, which is 200-feet by 80-feet, is used by recreational skaters and hockey teams. The ice rink opens the Saturday after Thanksgiving through mid-March (weather permitting). Group and private lessons are available; ice charter rentals for parties and hockey teams are also available.
- Hours: There are two-hour sessions on the following days: Mon. -Tues. at 10:30 a.m.; Wed. at 10:30 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 4 p.m.; Fri. at 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.; Sat. - Sun. at 10:30 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. There are no public sessions on Thursday.
- Fees (daily): Resident adult with Leisure Pass, $7; resident teenager 13-17 years of age with Leisure Pass, $5; resident child 12 and under accompanied by adult with Leisure Pass, $5; resident senior, disabled, vol. firefighter, ambulance corps, auxiliary police, veterans with Leisure Pass, $4; adult without Leisure Pass, $20, child without Leisure Pass, $14. Skate rentals are available for $5.
|The pool is a popular summer destination.
- The outdoor swimming pool complex includes an Olympic-sized pool, diving tank with boards, and a “kiddie” pool. Lockers and showers are available. Swimming pool will be open late June, through Labor Day. Swimming Lessons available
- Hours: Mon.-Sun., 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Fees (daily): Resident adult, $7; resident child (4-17 years of age), $5; senior, disabled, vol. firefighter, ambulance corps, auxiliary police, veterans, $3; non-resident adult, $15, non-resident child, $10. A Leisure Pass is required for residents to receive the resident rate.
- A dog run is located on the north side of the parking lot by the Christopher Morley "Knothole." The dog run is openyear round. Please note that dogs are not allowed in any County parks or preserves, with the exception of the dog runs.
- The park features 30 acres of peaceful and beautiful wooded nature trails that provide an ideal area for a leisurely stroll or jogging.
- There are courts for horseshoes and shuffleboard.
- A Farmer's Market operates at the park on Wednesday's from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is open mid-May through late November.
|The interior of the Knothole, the writing studio used by Christopher Morley.
Christopher Morley "Knothole":
The Christopher Morley “Knothole” is a tiny one-room wooden cabin formerly used as a studio by prominent 20th-century Long Island editor and writer Morley (who authored such novels as “Thunder on the Left” and “Kitty Foyle”); it was later transported to the park. The facility is located by the dog run and is open occasionally for public programs.
Constructed in 1934, the Knothole includes built-in
bookshelves, a fireplace and a bunkbed. But the public has been most intrigued over the years by the Knothole’s “dymaxion” bathroom, which was designed in 1936 by Morley’s friend, Buckminster Fuller, the renowned scientist and inventor. It is a one-piece, pre-assembled unit, similar to the bathrooms in use on airplanes.
In 2006, the County completed renovation work on the Knothole, which involved replacing damaged siding, a task that required creating new siding to replicate the thick and irregularly shaped “wavy”-edge style of the original; adding a new roof and flashings; rebuilding windows and sills; and rebuilding the porch. In addition, a new handicapped-accessible ramp was installed.
To reach Christopher Morley Park, take the Long Island Expressway to Exit 36/Searingtown Road exit (from east or west). Take Searingtown Road North and look for the park entrance on right (about 200 yards from the LIE).
County Parks Begin Accepting Picnic Reservations in February
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announces that picnic reservations for the coming season may be made at Nassau County parks beginning in February. Reservations can be made for the following parks:
Reservations must be made in person at park locations, and a valid Leisure Pass and appropriate payment (fees depend upon group size) must be presented to obtain a confirmed reservation. Payment can be made by cash, check (made out to “Treasurer of Nassau County”) or credit card (at some locations). “Rain-or-shine” shelter areas are available at Cedar Creek Park, Rev. Arthur Mackey Sr. Park, Nickerson Beach Park and Wantagh Park.
County regulations require that 75% of all picnic participants be Nassau County residents. A special permit is required for the use of alcoholic beverages, and this permit must be purchased at least one week in advance of any reserved or unreserved picnic. To make catering arrangements, patrons must contact the park concessionaire, Dover Caterers, at 516-933-4444, ext. 12 or 16. Picnic reservations must be secured from the individual park before catering can be arranged.