Tag Archives: Exploring Inwood

Day One Hundred and Thirty-Nine: Walking the entire length of Broadway from 242nd Street Van Cortlandt Park to the Bowling Green Park on the West side of the road June 14th and on the East side of the road, July 2nd, a third time August 10th, 2019 and a forth time July 31st, 2020

Please check out my updates in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and see how Manhattan keeps on changing.

Bowling Green Park

You will end the walk at Bowling Green Park! It’s a treat!

mywalkinmanhattan

When I finally finished walking Sutton and Beekman Places, I finally decided to take the long walk down Broadway that I had planned for two years. As you can see by the blog, I like to take one neighborhood or section of the City at a time and concentrate on getting to know it. What is the history of the neighborhood? What is there now? Who are the shop keepers and the restaurant owners? What is the neighborhood association doing to improve the area? I like to become part of the neighborhood when I walk around it.

But recently I have noticed people on the Internet have been posting that they walked the entire length of Broadway and bragged about it like they were ‘performing brain surgery’. So I put aside my next walk and decided to see what the fuss was about walking up and down Broadway. I am…

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I Love New York logo

Day One Hundred and Sixty-Two: “I Love New York” from the 1970’s, 80’s and Today! March 30th, 2020

I was just watching ’60 Minutes’ tonight and it has never been scarier to be in New York City. The hospitals are being over-whelmed by patients that are low on supplies and the medical staffs are tired, burnt out and still stepping up to the plate to help get people better. The streets are empty with people as the last of the tourists left two weeks ago and the crowded streets of Manhattan that only in December were packed with so many people that you could not walk seems like a distant memory.

NY Restaurant Show II

https://www.internationalrestaurantny.com/

What should have been a great night for everyone. Michigan State WON 80-69!

 

As you have read from my last two blog entries, I was in Manhattan from March 7th until March 10th walking the International Restaurant Show, watching the Michigan State-Ohio State Basketball game at Blondies Bar on the Upper West Side for who would be the Big Ten Champion (MSU won Go Green Go White) that Sunday night, at the Anthology Film Archives watching Sandra Bullock in “The Net” for a series the movie theater had on 1990’s Internet films on Monday night and then my last night in the City on Tuesday, March 10th for the Gerhard Richter Exhibition at the Met Breuer for a Private Members Night. All this while everything was going on around us.

Met Breuer

The Met Breuer at 945 Madison Avenue

https://www.metmuseum.org/visit/plan-your-visit/met-breuer

Anthology Film archives

The Anthology Film Archives at 32 Second Avenue

http://anthologyfilmarchives.org/

The night I went to the Anthology Film Archives,  I stopped in Chinatown first to go to Wonton Noodle Garden on Mott Street (see review on TripAdvisor) for dinner. What shocked me was how empty the place was that evening. This is a restaurant that is packed all the time and it is open until 2:00am. The only people who were there were myself and two tables of NYU students.

Wonton Noodle Garden II

Wonton Noodle Garden at 56 Mott Street

http://www.wontonnoodlegarden.com/

When I asked the waiter where everyone was, he through up his shoulders and said “Everything going on in the world”. I knew it did not look good that night as the rest of Chinatown was empty. The East Village was hopping with college students and the neighborhood around me was busy but you could feel the mood shifting.

Wonton Noodle Garden

Wonton Noodle Garden’s Cantonese Wonton Soup with Egg Noodles and Roast Pork can cure all ills.

‘The Net’ Trailer

Sandra Bullock can cheer anyone up!

I felt this at the Restaurant Show where you could walk down the aisles of the show and never bump into anyone. The Tuesday afternoon that I went in to see the show one last time by 3:30pm most people had packed up and gone. The show did not close until 4:30pm. They were ready to go by early that morning. So my last five days in Manhattan I felt the mood changing as people were not sure what to do.

That last night at the Met Breuer as  I walked the crowded floors of the museum enjoying the Gerard Richter Show before the opening to the public, I could hear in the corners members saying “I am really surprised they did not cancel this.” and “Could you believe this crowd with what’s going on?” It was like all of us knew this was the last night of “ballyhoo”.

 

Gerhard Ritcher artist

Artist Gerhard Richter in front of his works

https://www.gerhard-richter.com/en/

All over the world people are banding together to contribute what they can and keep the human spirit alive by volunteering where they can and helping one another out. I know that between my work at the College and the Fire Department everyone has me running around and my spirit of volunteerism is never lacking.

So to all my readers especially the ones who are displaced New Yorkers remember that New York City has seen it darker days in the past and has risen to overcome them. There is a real spirit in the City that is not replicated anywhere else in the world and we saw that in the 1970’s, 80’s 90’s and on 9/11 to current days.

That was until 1977 when we rediscovered that spirit and said “I LOVE New York!”

To cheer everyone up, I pulled the old campaign from YouTube from the dark days of the 1970’s and 80’s to show how the human spirit can overcome anything if we pull together. So this special entry of “MywalkinManhattan” is dedicated to all of you who will never let that spirit die both here and where you live now. We will get through this!

I love New York III

After all “WE LOVE NEW YORK!”

The song that started it all:

 

The original campaign videos:

 

 

 

 

New York City after 9/11:

 

 

 

The Original Campaign videos from the 1980’s 1-5:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How the “I LOVE NEW YORK” campaign came about:

 

This excellent documentary was done by a New York High School student in 2006.

 

Songs that represent the true spirit of New York City:

Native New Yorker by Odyssey:

 

The Great Liza Minnelli singing the best version of “New York New York”

 

We will get through this everyone and God Speed!

5 Star Estrella Bakery Corporation 3861 Broadway New York, NY 10032

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am featuring wonderful reasonable restaurants in New York City. Don’t miss the delicious baked goods and empanadas at this bakery! It’s worth the trip uptown.

5 star estrella bakery

The selection of baked goods at 5 Star Estrella Bakery is extensive.

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

5 Star Estrella Bakery Corporation

3861 Broadway

New York, NY  10032

(212) 795-5000

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4416394-Reviews-5_Estrella_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

I have been to 5 Star Estrella Bakery Corporation about ten times since my project, “MywalkinManhattan” has taken me to this part of the city. Washington Heights has all sorts of bodega’s and deli’s on every corner of the neighborhood but this one stands out. Everything here is very reasonable and delicious (See my reviews on TripAdvisor).

I have to admit that the baked goods can be a little hard later in the afternoon but the taste is still wonderful. I have had their vanilla and chocolate doughnuts and they are big, puffy rings with a thick layer of icing ($1.25). In the early morning, they have a soft pillowy consistency and in the afternoon, they can be a little harder but still good.

They have wonderful Pastellitos (similar to empanadas) filled…

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G's Coffee Shop

G’s Coffee Shop 634 West 207th Street New York, NY 10034

In honor of Small Business Saturday, I am featuring wonderful reasonable restaurants in New York City.

 

G's Coffee Shop V

The burgers here are amazing!

G's Coffee SHop IV

So are the breakfast’s.

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

G’s Coffee Shop

634 West 207th Street

New York, NY  10034

(212) 942-0679

Free Delivery

Open: Sunday-Saturday 7:00am-9:00pm

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Breakfast—Brunch-Restaurant/Gs-Coffee-Shop-205601462950934/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d17445018-Reviews-G_s_Coffee_SHop-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

I came across G’s Coffee Shop (Steve & Gus Coffee Shop as the sign says) when I was taking a tour of the near by Cloisters Museum in Fort Tyron Park and then explored the park. After I finished at the museum and walking the park, I was starved and explored around the neighborhood to find a place to eat. Having walked the neighborhood for my blog, “MywalkinManhattan.com” a few years earlier, I had passed many restaurants on 207th Street that had opened and closed over the years and I came to G’s Coffee Shop which I had not noticed on my last few trips to the neighborhood.

Sitting down to eat at this small hole in the wall diner, I found that it was a…

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Trinity Park Cemetery

Day Seventeen: Walking the Washington Heights Border on Riverside Drive and West Side of Broadway 181st to 153rd Streets September 28th, 2015

I took a walk on Riverside Drive today, completing the west side of Broadway from 181st Street to 153rd Streets, on a beautiful sunny day. Being a little humid did not help but as the day wore on it got cooler and nicer to walk. Riverside Drive breaks into breaks into two sections around 161st Street with one section ending at Broadway and another part aligning the park. I decided to take the long route first and walk down to about 143rd Street, enjoying the views of the park and stopping  to look at the views of the palisades in New Jersey There are lots of scenic spots to view from.

Riverside Drive

Riverside Drive if full of interesting architecture

I stopped for lunch at George’s Pizza at 726 West 181st Street, a well known pizzeria that has been around since 1960  (now closed). They have a great lunch special of two giant slices and a can of soda for $5.00 and the pizza here is really good. The pizza maker makes a nice sauce and it has a rich flavor to it.

Georges Pizza

Georges Pizza at 726 West 181st Street (now closed)

The pizza was perfectly cooked and with the size of the slices, I did not need any dinner. It is a small hole in the wall place that is popular with the locals and was very busy that afternoon. You really need to check it out when in the neighborhood. The pizza cook is a really nice guy to boot.

Pranzo Pizza

The pizza is delicious!

I doubled back up Broadway to about 156th Street and started the walk up Riverside Drive from here. What’s nice about this section is the stone wall along the pocket park that lines this section of the drive. They make a nice bench for conversing with people as many residents seem to take advantage of during the day. There were lots of people socializing on this sunny afternoon.

Audubon Park

Audubon Park and the cemetery is the border of Washington Heights and Harlem

http://www.audubonparkny.com/

What’s nice about the little park between the streets is the rock formations similar to the one you will see around 190th Street harking back to a time that this area was dominated by rocky hills not paved smooth by roads and housing developments. There is a natural beauty to this park.

The brownstones that line this area are surrounding by potted plants and window boxes, showing a colorful display of seasonable flowers and plants. They accent the buildings very well. I was able also to finish all the side streets between Riverside and Broadway noticing that a lot of these buildings are now under renovation. I just criss-crossed the streets between Riverside Drive and Broadway going up and down hills.

More and more of these buildings are going from rentals to condos and you can see the money that is going into upscaling them. You can see it from the lobbies that you can view from the street to the new windows and sandblasting that is going on in the front of many of these buildings. This part of the neighborhood is going through a major transition.

I doubled back down Broadway to look over the selection of restaurants that were closed the last time I walked this part of the street and took a long walk on 155th Street down to the bridge. It really is a funny thing about 155th Street, how much it changes from one side of Manhattan to another.

Polo Grounds Apartment

The Polo Grounds Apartments are on West 155th Street

Click to access Polo%20Grounds%20Towers.pdf

For some reason, you really can feel the difference from one side of the street to the other. By Riverside Drive, it is all brownstones and pre-war housing that is being renovated. By the other side by the bridge, it is a large public housing complex. The Polo Ground Housing Complex I found out later on is one of the most dangerous in the City and I had walked all over the complex to see what it was all about. It is not the most attractive place to live as it looks very generic.

I headed back to Audubon Terrace that afternoon but the gates were then locked and both museums and the college located there were closed at the time I visited.

Audubon Trerrace

Audubon Terrace is on one side of East 155th Street

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audubon_Terrace

On a break it was back to the lady who sells the shaved ice for a mango ice cup. I really look forward to those two scoops of mango ice. It must be all the years that I lived in the islands myself. I still am trying to find the elusive Guamanian treat of a combination of soft serve, shaved ice and lining it with fruit syrups. Now that was heaven on a hot day.

The last part of the day was spent walking up the east side of Broadway. Not knowing when I started on this side of the street, I walked from 155th Street to 207th Street. It didn’t take as long as I thought but my feet reminded me it was a distance. It was interesting to see all the restaurants I tried, all the stores I entered and all the bakeries I had to stop in, all delicious and very reasonable. There are many great business owners up here. I made it to 207th Street when it got dark.

The outdoor cafes of Dyckman Street were in full swing that evening with such a warm night and everyone was out eating dinner and just enjoying the first warms days of the Fall. New York really comes alive at night, especially in this area where people are still in Fort Tryon Park jogging, walking or just out playing dominoes. You see that side of people that  enjoy living in this neighborhood. All the restaurants were packed on this warm evening.

Dyckman Street

The restaurant scene along Dyckman Street in Inwood just keeps growing.

Places to Eat:

Georges Pizza

726 West 181 Street

New York, NY 10033

http://georgespizzanewyork.net/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d478960-Reviews-George_s_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html

http://www.georgespizzadinner.com/

(Now Closed for Business)

Visit the shopping area of 207th Street with all its great Dominican Restaurants and stores

The Plaque at the Trinity Cemetery

Day Fifteen: First Day of Fall walking Washington Heights to Harlem West of Broadway from 164th to 155th Streets September 23rd, 2015

Okay, I did not make my goal of walking the whole city by the end of the Summer but when work, book edits, fire and ambulance calls and life in general get in the way, there is not much you can do but keep on walking. I started my walk today at the 165th Street subway station. At least I am moving down the subway lines.

Exiting the subway, I took the long walk down Broadway towards 155th Street to 153rd Street the traditional border of Washington Heights and Harlem. For all the reputation that these neighborhoods have to the rest of the city, they are really nice especially west of Broadway by the Hudson River. I concentrated on the west side of Broadway today, making 153rd Street my border until I start the eastern part of Broadway. At 84 degrees, the Summer has not let go yet and it was a beautiful sunny day to venture into the city.

I started down the hill on 153rd Street at the Trinity Church Cemetery, which is advertised at the ‘only active mausoleum’ on the island of Manhattan. By the time I got into the city at 3:30pm, the cemetery was closed for the day but people were still walking around the sides of it, jogging, walking, biking and just enjoying the day. By the wall on Broadway, I read a plaque that said this was the line of defense for General Washington against the British during the Revolutionary War. Many people forget how much Manhattan played a role during the war. If General Washington were only to see the neighborhood now, he would be pretty shocked. That is just about the sticker price on an apartment in the area as this area is getting more costly.

Trinity Church Cemetery

Trinity Church Cemetery

As I walked this section of Broadway, I ventured into the Sweet Life Bakery at 3887 Broadway for something to munch on to keep the sugar high. I had one of their fresh Concha pastries that is a type of sugary sweet cake. For a dollar, it quite a bargain for this red topped sugary pastry.

Sweet Life Bakery

Sweet Life Pastry at 3887 Broadway

Venture inside for many other delicious sweets. Munching on the cake and walking around the other side of the cemetery at 155th Street, at the end of the street there is a series of steps that takes you to a set of stairs that leads to a small patch of Riverside Park with the most breathtaking views of the river and Fort Lee, New Jersey.

It’s nice on a sunny day to take in the view and the way the sun shines off the water and the river rushing by creates a very inviting and relaxing place to take in the views of the park. I sat and watched the joggers, bikers and people just walking and talking pass by enjoying their afternoon. Then it was back up the steps to continue up Riverside Drive.

As I walked down the side streets between Riverside Drive and Broadway, there are many pockets of small sites to see and enjoy. At the end of the stretch of 158th Street, there is a row of townhouses with different designs, all sitting in various stages of renovation, with a few still boarded up. There is not many places in the city where you are going to see much of this. I was pretty surprised that two or three were still in bad shape. I don’t give it that much time before someone passes these homes and snatches them up for a new home. Still they look genuine. Like the people that live there have seen the good times and the bad times of the neighborhood.

At the start of corner of 157th Street and the beginning of Riverside Drive at 811 Riverside Drive, there is the most unique home sitting next to an apartment building with similar architecture but it looks more like a Gothic house that was once someone’s mansion until it was turned into apartments. This now two family house looks almost like a frat house but kept in the utmost care. It is worth the wait to stare at from the street.

The house was built in 1922 for clothing manufacturer, Nathan Berler and was supposed to be part of a bigger development of duplex homes. It was the only one that ended up being built. This unique home sits amongst the buildings known as the Audubon Terrace (Untapped Cities).

811 Riverside Drive

811 Riverside Drive

Another is a pocket park on Riverside Drive West which mergers into Riverside Drive. What I have found is that when these communities ban together, they can create small picturesque parks for all the neighbors to enjoy. Their form of community gardening have created a place for seniors and their caregivers to relax and kids to run around in without fears of cars. It is a nice place to sit on a bench and watch the world go by. The start of Riverside Drive off 158th Street and Edward Morgan Place offers another beautiful patch of hilly park space on two levels of stone wall with a staircase in between.

Many people were sitting on the wall chatting away enjoying the day, not noticing the trees still in full form and several brownstones’ with potted plants and window gardens decorating their fronts. These colorful displays accented the brownstones’ and almost brought the park to the front of their homes. A black cat followed me up the street, my first companion on this walk. After a block, it meowed and walked back down the street.

I walked all the side streets between 158th Street to 164th Street, admiring the pre-war buildings and watching the families outside setting up tables and chairs and talking to their friends and families or just playing dominoes or cards. These folks seriously pay attention to what is going on around them. My walk up and down Riverside Drive will complete this side of Broadway in Washington Heights.

I stopped one day to visit the Hispanic Society Museum & Library at 613 West 155th Street (see my reviews on TripAdvisor & VisitingaMuseum.com) on one of the rare days that it was open. It is a wonderful place to admire Spanish art from different eras. Take time to admire the murals towards the back of the museum and then some of the Medieval art in the middle of the museum.

Hispanic Society of America

Hispanic Society Museum & Library

I ended my day with a soda and some freshly fried chicken Pastelitos at La Terraza at 3881 Broadway. This little restaurant displays their selection of entrees in the window. The Pastelitos they in big demand as they disappeared quickly from the window display and I lucked out with ones that just came out of the fryer. They were the best with spicy shredded chicken squirting out with every bite. That with a Coke is a nice way to end the day.

 

Places to Visit:

 

Trinity Church Cemetery

770 Riverside Drive

New York, NY 10032

(212) 368-1800

https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/cemetery-mausoleum

 

Hispanic Society Museum & Library

613 West 155 Street

New York, NY  10032

(212) 926-2234

http://hispanicsociety.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d110237-Reviews-Hispanic_Society_of_America-New_York_City_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/160

 

Places to Eat:

 

La Terraza (now closed)

3881 Broadway

New York, NY 10032

(212) 795-0615

 

Sweet Life Pastry (now closed)

3887 Broadway

New York, NY  10032

(212) 304-0265

https://www.sweetlifepastry.nyc/

https://www.sweetlifepastryny.com/

Open: Hours vary so please call their number

Paterno Trivium

Day Thirteen: Lower Washington Heights Walking Broadway from 193rd Street to 165th Street West of Broadway September 13th, 2015

I continued my walk in Washington Heights in the middle of the neighborhood west of Broadway when the heavens opened up. Thank God it did not last forever. The sun did come out later that afternoon and did cool down a lot. It was the perfect weather to walk around the neighborhood.

I took the subway back up to 181st Street and walked past the rock formation again that abuts the surrounding buildings. I can’t believe that someone would want to blast this away to build something but it looks like its under construction. This is such a focal point in a neighborhood filled with pre-war apartments.

181 Street Station

My start point 181st Street Station

My first part of the walk took me down the 181st Street shopping area and maybe I missed it the first time but there is a Starbucks on the corner of 181st Street and Fort Washington Avenue. This is the tale tell sign that the neighborhood is changing again. This part of Washington Heights west of Broadway is really beautiful with its rolling hills, pocket parks and tree-lined streets and the most amazing view of the George Washington Bridge from the corner of 181st Street and Pinehurst Avenue.

The street slopes  down and you have a view of Riverside Park in the distance, a tree lined street and the pocket park next to the dead end of Pinehurst Avenue. This is a perfect place to take pictures and climb the stairs to relax on one of the many benches that line the walkway. Toward the top of the stairs, the fence is lined with modern art that is festive and unique. As I said on a previous day, this part of the neighborhood reminds me of the marina area in San Francisco.

When you climb the stairs at Pinehurst Avenue, you are greeted by the Hudson View Gardens Apartments, a mixture of stone and Tutor apartments landscaped to match the adjoining parks. This attractive apartment complex lines the streets of the west side on Pinehurst Avenue, across the street from James Gordon Bennett Park, a staple that attracts families from all over the neighborhood. The courtyards of the complex are colorfully planted and match the stonework of the buildings. The whole affect with the park across street is quite striking.

HUdson View Gardens Apartments

The Hudson View Gardens Apartments in lower Inwood

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_View_Gardens

James Gordon was a newspaper publisher who launched the New York Herald in 1835. He donated this land which was part of his property. The land sat on the site of the original Fort Washington that had been part of the Revolutionary War battles. The park opened in 1929 and the unique aspect of the park is that is that the west side of the park site an outcropping of the ‘Manhattan Schist’, the layer of bedrock in which is the core of the island and how all the skyscraper’s are built on the island. This part of the schist is the highest point of Manhattan (Wiki).

James Gorden Bennett

James Gordon Bennett Sr. founder of the New York Herald Newspaper

https://www.britannica.com/biography/James-Gordon-Bennett-American-editor-1795-1872

I spent time in Bennett Park at West 183rd Street watching kids climb rocks, frolic around the playground and play with their parents, who were enjoying the park just as much as the kids. It gives me faith that raising children in New York City has changed over the last twenty years. I am seeing more and more young parents in the city staying put and bringing life back to New York establishing their roots here and not in the suburbs.

James Gorden Bennett Park II

James Gordon Bennett Park at West 183rd and Fort Washington Avenue

Bennett Park offers a lot. There is lots of equipment in the playground to keep any child occupied. There is a area for soccer, kite flying, rock climbing and even a cannon to climb on. Kids were flying planes, throwing balls with their parents or chasing one another without a cellphone in sight. That gives me faith in the next generation.

James Gorden Bennett Park

This is noted to be the highest point in Manhattan in James Gordon Bennett Park

Leaving Bennett Park and walking up the length of Pinehurst Avenue, I stopped at the little triangle park to rest and take a phone call. The Paterno Trivium, at the corner of Cabrini Boulevard, Pinehurst Avenue and West 187th Street is another small pocket park run by the NYC Park system. It was a perfect place to converse with local seniors on the current status of New York City, happenings in the neighborhood and recommendations of restaurants on the small restaurant row on 187th Street. There is a little bit of everything in this area.

Paterno Trivium

The Paterno Trivium at Pinehurst Avenue is perfect for relaxing

Charles V. Paterno

Charles V. Paterno, Builder

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_V._Paterno

The park was named after Charles V. Paterno, a developer who was responsible for developing most of the Fort Washington section of Manhattan. He developed the Hudson View Garden Apartment complex, the Gothic apartment buildings near Fort Tryon Park in 1923-24. The park opened in 2000 and has become a Greenstreet site (NYCParks.org).

After walking both sides of Fort Washington Street and finished the upper western part of Washington Heights, I walked down 181st Street towards Broadway and made my way down Broadway to 165th Street following the western perimeter of the neighborhood.

Make note of this shopping district around 181st Street on both sides of Broadway which is loaded with reasonable restaurants and stores all along the street and down Broadway, St. Nicolas Street and parts of Audubon Avenue. It was especially vibrant during the holiday season when all the overhead Christmas lights were up.

I then walked around the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital complex with dominates the 165th Street from Broadway to the Hudson River. All the housing surrounding the complex has been updated obviously for the staff of the hospital and in the later evening staff from the hospital was walking all over the neighborhood, conversing, walking their dogs and eating out.

There is a distinct change in the neighborhood once you cross 169th Street on Broadway. It goes from a Dominican neighborhood to a more college oriented one, lined with chain stores, upscale restaurants and gourmet shops and businesses catering more to the college and hospital staff then to the neighbors slightly to the north. Honestly though, I see plenty of young Hispanic professionals in the restaurants.

I had enough time to walk all the side streets between Broadway and Haven Avenue and the first three blocks up, the housing looks strictly for the hospital staff changing again around 172nd Street. I ended my walk for the evening walking the edges of J. Hood  Wright Park, watching everyone walk their dogs through the park and the last playground stragglers leaving the park for the evening.

J. Hood Wright Park II

The entrance to J. Hood Wright Park in Washington Heights

J. Hood Wright was a wealthy banker and financier who owned a mansion on the site and donated heavily to the local Washington Heights branch of the library (NYCParks.org).

James Hood Wright

James Hood Wright, a banker and philanthropist

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hood_Wright

I stopped at La Nueva Empanadas Monumental at 3772 Broadway for some empanadas to munch on way back to the subway station. I had the chicken and cheese and the chicken. Not bad but a little doughy and be prepared to speak your broken Spanish if you unless you speak the language.

La Nueva Empanadas

La Nueva Empanadas Monumental at 3772 Broadway

Most everyone is a Spanish speaker in the restaurant and some of the patrons seemed a little shocked that I walked in. To me, it’s a nice place for a quick, reasonably priced snack.

La Nueva Empanadas II

Their empanadas are really good!

I will be finishing the rest of this side of Broadway in the coming days.

Places to Visit:

James Gordon Bennett Park

West 183rd and Fort Washington Avenue

New York, NY  10033

(212) 639-9675

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-1:00am

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bennett-park/history

J. Hood Wright Park

West 173rd Avenue between Haven Avenue and Fort Washington Avenue

New York, NY  10033

(212) 639-9675

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-1:00am

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/j-hood-wright-park

Paterno Trivium

At the corners of Cabrini Boulevard, Pinehurst Avenue and West 187th Street

New York, NY  10040

Open: Check the Website

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/MZ188/highlights/9757

Places to eat:

La Nueva Empanadas Monumental

3772 Broadway

New York, NY  10032

(646) 559-2502

https://empanadasmonumentalnewyork.com/

Open: Monday-Thursday-9:00am-11:00pm/Friday, Saturday and Sunday-9:00am-12:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d15166228-Reviews-Empanadas_Monumental-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

The Indian Caves in Inwood Park

Day Ten and Eleven: Visiting Inwood Parks going up and down hills September 15th-16th, 2015

I  wanted to get off the beaten track of the streets today, especially since it was so hot out and explore the paths of the parks in the area. Inwood has so many beautiful parks, rock formations, valleys and peaks that when you walk the remote paths to the middle of Inwood Hill Park, with the exception of a train passing by, you would never know that you were in Manhattan and not in the middle of the wilderness.

I started the day at 218th Street and started my walk of Inwood Hill Park (See review on TripAdvisor).  I walked the Muscota Marsh at 218 Indian Hill Road (See review on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum@Wordpress.com) part of the Columbia campus, again at low tide and observed the many birds that call the marsh home. More people were enjoying their day at the park and all over the ball fields and lawns people were enjoying baseball games, soccer and picnics. There was a lot of activity at the upper end of the park and as you start the walk up the hill into the paths leading to the woods, you really are transported to another world.

Muscota Marsh

Muscota Marsh at 218 Indian Hill Road near the Columbia Stadium

As I walked the paths to the upper reaches of the park, I was reminded that once upon a time when Manhattan was all wooded and what the Dutch must of thought of Manhattan when they arrived. It is quite the experience walking around the park in the middle of the afternoon and no one is around this part of the park. For the all the ballgames and soccer games below, it is peaceful, relaxing and a sense of tranquility  is the feeling you get as you walk along the hills and valleys of the park. These are things that you don’t see from the apartment buildings and streets below.

The upper paths of the park offer logs to sit and relax on, the view of Indian Caves, beautiful rock formations and dozens of types of wildflowers along the paths. When walking this part of the park, wind down multiple paths before reaching street level. There is lots to see in the middle of the park and if you want to be by yourself this is the part of the park you want to be in.

Indian Caves Inwood Park

The Indian Caves in Inwood Hill Park

As you exit the park by Dyckman Street, make a left and head back to the pier and little beach at the end of the street. It is a nice place to relax after a long walk around the park. Enter the park from the lower side of Dyckman Street and enter the ball fields. On a busy Saturday, I watched a soccer game that had the intensity of an Olympic match. It was the Mexicans vs the Mexicans and you could feel the pressure from the fans. There were loads of families watching the game and picnicking by the river. What was nice was the food carts offering all sorts of Mexican food choices at very reasonable prices.

A special note when walking this section of Inwood is that there are lots of choices of places to go to the bathroom. You have the public bathrooms under the bridge, you have the public bathrooms in the playground on the corner of Dyckman Street and Payson Avenue and at the local library by the corner of Dyckman Street and Broadway.

I crossed Dyckman Street and walked into the Fort Tyron Park. At the beginning of the park is Lt. William Tighe Park Triangle. This park was open today and offered much relief from walking around Broadway. The park was named after William Tighe, a decorated veteran of two wars and a local resident (NYCParks).

william tighe park

William Tighe Park at Dyckman Street and Broadway

This little gem of a park reminds us of the positive benefits when a neighborhood of volunteers ban together to create a little park so magical and polished. There is a little pool full of golden fish to the back of this little pocket park, colorful flowers and small benches perfect to relax and read a book.

I walked through the extremely busy Anne Loftus Playground again. It was some afternoon trying to avoid all the kids running all over the playground, splashing in the fountain area and chasing one another up the jungle gym while parents chatted amongst themselves or read books. This well-laid out playground is very popular with the locals at all times of the day because as I passed it one night late in the evening, the kids were still running around the park. Kids of all ages, shapes and sizes play together and they show real neighborhood unity by watching out for one another.

The Anne Loftus playground was named after the District Manager and Community Board Leader for District 12, who tirelessly fought for improvement in the parks and the neighborhood. The park was name after her in 1990 when it opened. It has currently received a face lift and is being enjoyed by children and families from all over the neighborhood.

Ann Loftus Park

Anne Loftus Playground at Broadway and Dyckman Street

I was able to tour the Cloisters and walk around the upper reaches of the park before nightfall. The Cloisters (see review on TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum@Wordpress.com) is a small medieval museum located in the Fort Tyron Park on Park Drive and is run by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you like this type of art, it is one of the best of its kind. Do not miss the courtyard area to sit and relax amongst the flowers and the patio area to overlook the park.

Cloisters II

‘The Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestries’ at the Cloisters Museum

One of my favorite exhibits is the ‘Hunt of the Unicorn’ tapestries. These world renown tapestries show the pursuit and capture of the  mythical unicorn. The artwork and detail is breathtaking considering the age of these works. You can spend as little or a lot of time here but it is a small museum.

The Cloisters

The Cloisters at 99 Margaret Corbin Drive in Fort Tyron Park

I ended my day back in Inwood Hill Park and stopped at the Indian Road Café at 600 218th Street #3 (See review on TripAdvisor) a farm to table concept restaurant for dinner and a history lesson. First off, this restaurant is amazing. It is small and cozy and I was lucky to snag a table by the screen on ‘History Night’.

Indian Road Cafe

Indian Road Cafe’s food is excellent

The speaker from the Museum of Natural History, who had just given us a talk on Inwood Hill Park, was there talking about the history of the neighborhood and you would be floored by the number of adults hanging on every word. The gentleman discussed the history of the area with details on the amusement parks that were once here, the trolley and bridge systems and the progression of development in Inwood. The food was fantastic that evening.

I had the Cuban Panino sandwich with an ice tea that I really enjoyed. The restaurant is a ‘farm to table’ concept and you can see it in the taste and freshness of the entrée. The pork was perfectly cooked and sandwich combination worked. The salad was the right amount with a light dressing.

For dessert, I had a Blueberry Cobbler that was more of a dump cake with fresh blueberries baked inside. The whole meal was wonderful and the service was friendly and not rushed. I sat back, ate my dinner and enjoyed my lesson on the history of Inwood. Check out the restaurants website for other special events and I have read many reviews on their wonderful weekend brunch.

It was a nice way to end my evening touring the parks.

Places to Visit:

Inwood Hill Park

Payson And Seaman Avenues

New York, NY 10034

(212) 639-9675

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/inwoodhillpark

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-1:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d3598044-Reviews-Inwood_Hill_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Fort Tyron Park

Riverside Drive to Broadway

New York, NY  10040

(212) 639-9675

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/fort-tryon-park

Open:  Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-1:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d2305249-Reviews-Fort_Tryon_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/4350

The Cloisters-The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Fort Tryon Park)

99 Margaret Corbin Drive

New York, NY 10004

(212) 923-3700

Open: Sunday-Saturday-10:00am-4:45pm

http://www.metmuseum.org

Review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d106609-Reviews-The_Met_Cloisters-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/680

Anne Loftus Playground (Fort Tyron Park)

4746 Broadway

New York, NY 10040

(212) 639-9675

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/fort-tryon-park/highlights/11234

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-1:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

William Tighe Triangle

Seaman Avenue, Dyckman Street and Broadway

New York, NY  10040

(212) 639-9675

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/lt-wm-tighe-triangle/history

Open: Check Website

Muscota Marsh (Columbia University)

218 Indian Hill Road

New York, NY  10034

(212) 639-7695

https://www.nycgovparks.org/highlights/muscota-marsh

https://facilities.columbia.edu/baker-athletic-complex

Open: Sunday-Saturday: 6:00am-1:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d21055137-Reviews-Mucota_Marsh-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/1214

Places to eat:

Indian Road Cafe

600 218th Street #3

New York, NY  10034

(212) 942-7417

http://www.indianroadcafe.com

About

Open: Sunday: 8:00am-10:00pm/Monday-Friday: 7:00am-10:30am/Saturday: 7:00am-11:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d1894637-Reviews-Indian_Road_Cafe_Market-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Hillside Avenue in Inwood

Day Nine: Between the Parks on Dyckman Street south from Broadway to Hillside Avenue August 24th, 2015

When you walk south on Dyckman Street you will be reminded they you are in a very hilly section of the neighborhood. I walked Broadway to Hillside Avenue and I have to say I got my exercise today. Hillside Avenue and the surrounding streets are all up and down hills. Hillside Avenue as you are walking up has unusual rock formations and small patches of wooded area which is unfortunately filled with  garbage.

Inwood Hill Park IV

High Bridge Park entrance by Fort George Avenue

The neighborhood should really rally around this because it is quite beautiful. It is even nicer toward the end of the street with the large rock formations and the trees growing out of them.

I covered the lower parts of Sherman Avenue, Nagle Avenue, Bogardus Place and then traveled west to cover Ellwood Street, Sickles Street,  Arden Street, Thayer Street and Dongan Place. These blocks were filled with pre-war apartment buildings and local family businesses. The one thing I noticed on a lot of these blocks is that many families set up tables and chairs and sit outside in the afternoon and night and play dominoes and cards and talk to their neighbors.

I felt like it was a throw back to the days when my mom, who lived in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn back in the 50’s, would talk about everyone sitting outside because there was no air-conditioning and you would converse with your neighbors because everyone was in the same boat.

What’s nice about this neighborhood environment is that these families watch what is going on and know the comings and goings of the people in their neighborhood. For all the talk about Inwood not being a safe place, I never felt nervous. The one thing I will remember after today is that Manhattan is not flat.

I walked around the Dyckman Street Houses and into the park area between the buildings. Word of advice, when walking around public housing. Never wear a ‘9/11 Remembers NYPD and FDNY’ shirt. At 6:4 with a thick mustache, I could see that some of the people on the park benches assumed I was a cop walking through to inspect what was going on and I saw a few small groups of people actually get up and leave when I looked at them. That was strange.

Dyckman Houses

Walking through the Dyckman Houses is an interesting experience.

https://foursquare.com/v/nycha–dyckman-houses/4bc550f66c26b713bb3aebf3

Click to access Dyckman.pdf

After a long walk on a hot day, head over to the corner of Nagle and Dyckman Street. There is a woman who sells the most refreshing mango and strawberry ice for $1.00 and it will cool you down immediately. Before leaving this section of Inwood, double back to Bogardus Place and Hillside Avenue and watch the sunset. It is a pretty amazing sight.

Places to Eat:

Stop by the vendors on 207th Street from Broadway to 10th Avenue. There are all sorts of street cooks making everything from Pastilitos to fried breads and doughnuts. Take time to look at the wares in “Little Dominica”. This shopping district stretches from Broadway until you reach the other subway platform.

The Dyckman Farmhouse

Day Eight: Touring the Dyckman Farm House and the surrounding neighborhood of Inwood August 20th, 2015

I had some extra time today to double back to some of the sites that either were not open the day I walked this part of Inwood or did not have time to visit. The Dyckman Farm House tour (See TripAdvisor and VisitingaMuseum@Wordpress.com) is defiantly something you should tour while you are in the neighborhood. Sitting on the top of a hill overlooking Broadway at 4881 Broadway, you have to be sure to visit the house when it is open. It’s hours are from 11:00am-3:00pm Thursday-Sunday. It is worth the visit to step back to the 18th Century and see how people lived in comparison to today. It’s a small island into the past in a bustling neighborhood.

The tour is self-guided and free. The house was built in 1785 by William Dyckman in the Dutch Colonial style on what was once a 250 acre farm estate that he inherited from his grandfather who had come to the New World in 1661. The original house had been further in the estate and it was destroyed during the Revolutionary War.  The house left the family in 1868 and was bought again by Mr. Dyckman’s granddaughter’s in 1915 and was restored (Wiki).

Dyckman Farm House I

Dyckman Farm now sits above the neighborhood.

The house was donated to the City of New York in 1916 and is now part of the Parks system. The nice part is that the house has a self-guided tour and you can take your time to look over the rooms and the gardens. It really is a simple house as the Dyckman’s, who owned most of the land in this part of Inwood were farmers.  They owned the house for several generations and it was the last family member living there grandchildren who invested in the house to open it up to the public.

It amazes me of how many people lived in this house at one time with the amount of space in which they had to work. The bedrooms are pretty small and take time out to see the downstairs kitchen. It makes us appreciate today. The gardens in the back are a nice place to roam and relax. The beds are set up with both flowers and vegetables and are maintained by their Friends group. Sit back under one of the trees and just enjoy the view. It really is a time capsule to our rural past in an extremely busy section of Inwood. Watch their events calendar too as there are many activities at the Dyckman House.

dyckman farm house III

Touring the Dyckman Farmhouse property

I double backed and covered Payson Avenue, Cummings Street, Academy Street and walked down Dyckman Street to Nagle Avenue. I made a quick pit stop at Nagle Bakery at 121-B Nagle Avenue, which is pretty good. I had a Pastilito, a type of Dominican beef or chicken turnover, which they make really good and they are only a dollar. I also had a fruit filled Cococino, a type of flaky pastry with mango filling that was a little dried out but not bad.

Nagle Bakery II

The pastries at Nagle Bakery

This was the unfortunate part of most of the bakeries I tried in Inwood. By the time I got to the bakeries, everything seemed stale like it had been sitting since the morning. Nagle Bakery though is not bad and if you are in the neighborhood, it’s worth the stop.

Nagle Bakery

Nagle Bakery at 121-B Nagle Avenue

On my back to the subway at 207th and Dyckman Street, I stopped at Tony’s Pizza and Pasta at 4771 Broadway (now closed) for a quick slice before the ride downtown. You have to watch them here. On the outside sign, they advertise a $1.00 slice but when you go in it’s $1.50. Then when you order the slice you have to designate that you want the $1.50 slice or they will try to bait and switch you with a larger slice that is $2.50. The $1.50 slice is not bad and the sauce is pretty good but the more expensive slice is much bigger. Not a good business practice but the pizza was pretty good so I forgave them for that and it is close to the subway station.

Tony's Pizza

Tony’s Pizza and Pasta at 4771 Broadway (now closed)

It was a quick afternoon in the city but a nice walk for the day. I just wanted to revisit the Inwood neighborhood to be sure that I covered everything and see the Dyckman Farmhouse. Don’t miss it at the holidays as well.

 

Places to Visit:

Dyckman Farmhouse

4881 Broadway

New York, NY  10034

(212) 304-9422

Open: Thursday-Saturday-11:00am-3:00pm/Saturday-11:00am-4:00pm/Closed Monday-Wednesday.

http://www.dyckmanfarmhouse.com

Review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d108018-Reviews-Dyckman_Farmhouse_Museum-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/771

 

Places to Eat:

 

Nagle Bakery

121-B Nagle Avenue

New York, NY  10040

(212) 304-4801

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nagle-Bakery/236597870195281

Open: Hours vary

 

Tony’s Pizza & Pasta (now closed)

4771 Broadway

New York, NY  10034

(212) 544-7476

https://www.tonyspizzanyc.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday-11:00am-11:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d5104514-Reviews-Tony_s_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905