Tag Archives: Exploring Washington Heights

Day Thirty-Six: Visiting both the Morris-Jumel Mansion/Little Red Lighthouse in Riverside Park Washington Heights January 16th, 2016

Before I could finish my walk of Washington Heights, there were a few sights I wanted to see before it got too cold. So on a mild but brisk afternoon after a long morning in the Soup Kitchen, I visited the Little Red Lighthouse and the Morris-Jumel Mansion. I missed seeing these spots during the summer.

My first part of the trip lead me to 181st Street and the long walk down the street to Riverside Park. I was amazed of how beautiful 181st Street is at all seasons. It is still breathtaking in the winter as it is during the summer except you can see more. You could view more of the formations on the riverside cliffs at this time of the year.

Even in the short time since the summer ended, there have been many changes in the neighborhood. More buildings are under scaffolding and being sandblasted. A lot of storefronts are empty and the mom and pop businesses that I passed over the summer have closed their doors showing that the neighborhood is in transition. Slowly more expensive restaurants and shops are opening east of Broadway.

The walk down the path through Riverside Park is quite steep so make sure that you have comfortable shoes on and do your best to avoid the bike riders who speed by. At the end of the path, turn the corner and you will see the small lighthouse hidden behind a leg of the bridge.

It is rather unusual spot for a lighthouse but it has a rather colorful past. Located underneath the George Washington Bridge along this treacherous section of the Hudson River once known as Jeffrey’s Hook, this is one of the few surviving lighthouses in New York City.

Little Red Lighthouse III

The Little Red Lighthouse

As traffic increased along the Hudson River, so did the number of shipwrecks at Jeffery’s Hook. In an attempt to reduce accidents, a red pole was placed at Jeffery’s Hook jutting out over the river to warn travelers of danger. In 1889, two 10-candlepower lanterns were placed on the pole to aid navigation. Much of the land surrounding the lighthouse, including the riverbanks of Jeffery’s Hook, was acquired by the City in 1896 and became known as Fort Washington Park.

The Little Red Lighthouse had been erected on Sandy Hook, New Jersey in 1880, where it used a 1000 pound fog signal and flashing red light to guide ships through the night. It became obsolete and was dismantled in 1917. In 1921, the U.S. Coast Guard reconstructed this lighthouse on Jeffery’s Hook in an attempt to improve navigational aids on the Hudson River. Run by a part-time keeper and furnished with a battery-powered lamp and a fog bell, the lighthouse was an important guide to river travelers for ten years. The George Washington Bridge opened in 1931 and the brighter lights of the bridge again made the lighthouse obsolete.

Little Red Lighthouse.jpg

The Little Red Lighthouse

The Coast Guide planned to auction off the lighthouse but an outpouring of support for the beacon helped save it. The outcry from the public was prompted by the children’s book, ‘The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge’, written by Hildegarde Swift and Lynd Ward in 1942. In the popular book, the Little Red Lighthouse is happy and content until the great bridge is build over it. In the end, the lighthouse learns that it still has an important job to do and that there is still a place in the world for an old lighthouse. People then sent money to save the icon from the auction block.

Little Red Lighthouse II

In 1951, the Coast Guard gave the property to the parks and in 1979 it was added to the National Register of Historical Places.

(New York City Department of Parks & Recreation)

It is a neat little park under the bridge and should not be missed when visiting this part of Riverside Park.

Instead of climbing back up the long path, I took a stroll down the paths of Riverside Park and walked by the river that was so close that you could put your hand into it (don’t!). It was a beautiful walk to be so close to the river and see the vistas of the cliffs of New Jersey and view the river both up and down stream. On this cool winter day, the park had a few joggers but not too many other people.

Riverside Park

Riverside Park in the Spring

My walk took me back to 160th Street and the cross bridge that took me back to the neighborhood that I had visited earlier this summer. This extension of Riverside Drive leads back to Broadway and I crossed back up to 161st Street to my destination of the Morris-Jumel Mansion located in Jumel Terrace right off High Bridge Park.

I made a pit stop for a snack at Esmeraldo Bakery on Broadway at 538 West 181st Street (see review on TripAdvisor) for their Cubanitos, a sweet meat pie and Rellenas, a mashed potato meat pie that are deep-fried. They are so good and at 2 small cubanitos for $1.00 and the Rellena for $1.25, it is quite a steal. Their doughnuts are really good as well. They are also $1.00. The staff always tolerates my broken Spanish.

Esmeraldo Bakery

Esmeraldo Bakery 538 181st Street

Jumel Terrace which is located between 162nd Street and 160th Streets located on a buff overlooking the Harlem River on its own park like setting with great views of both the Bronx and other parts of Manhattan. It is surrounded by a neighborhood of beautiful renovated brownstones, some still having their lights and decorations up from the holiday. It must have been beautifully decorated for Christmas.

Morris-Jumel Historic District

The Morris-Jumel Historic District in the Summer

The Morris-Jumel Mansion, located at 65 Jumel Terrace, is the long surviving Colonial residence left in Manhattan. The mansion was built as a summer ‘villa’ in 1795 by the British Colonel Roger Morris and his American wife Mary Philipse, it originally commanded extensive views in all directions. It viewed New York harbor and Staten Island to the south; of the Hudson and Harlem rivers to the west and east and of Westchester county to the north.

morris-jumel mansion

Morris-Jumel Mansion

Colonel Morris was the son of the famous architect Roger Morris, a fact which may explain the extremely innovative features of the mansion such as the gigantic portico and the rear wing which was the first octagon built in the colonies.

The house’s situation and large size made it ideal as military headquarters during the Revolution and it was occupied successively by Washington, General Sir Henry Clinton and the Hessian General Baron von Knyphausen. As the Morrises were loyal to Britain during the Revolution, their property was seized and sold after its conclusion. In 1790, Washington returned for a cabinet dinner at which he entertained Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Hamilton and Colonel Knox among others.

The later history of the house centers on the Jumel’s. Stephen Jumel was a wealthy French émigré who married in 1804 his beautiful and brilliant mistress, Eliza Brown. They bought the mansion in 1810. In 1815, they sailed to France and offered Napoleon safe passage to New York after Waterloo. Although he eventually declined the offer, they did acquire from his family many important Napoleonic relics, some of which can be seen in the Blue Room on the second floor. Stephen died in 1832 and Eliza married the ex-Vice-President Aaron Burr in the front parlor one year later. They were in the process of a divorce a few years later when he died on the day the divorce was finalized. On Eliza death in 1865, she was considered one of the wealthiest women in America.

(Morris-Jumel Mansion welcome Guide)

The house tour is self-guided and you are able to walk all around the first and second floors as well as the kitchen in the basement. The mansion had just finished having all the holiday decorations packed up for the season so the mansion was in a little disarray. The kitchen is really interesting with all the period cooking tools in which we take the electronic ones so much for granted today. The antique waffle iron is really interesting.

The upstairs bedrooms have been restored and you get to see where Aaron Burr slept. Eliza had adopted her niece and she became Eliza’s daughter and her children her grandchildren, which by the painting in the house she must have been very fond of growing up.

Morris-Jumel Mansion III

In the summer months, the gardens are really nice to walk around in and are nicely landscaped. On a cool winter afternoon, it was nice to sit outside but there was not much to see. The mansion is definitely best either during the holidays or in the warmer months.

Morris-Jumel Mansion IV

Madame Jumel and family

It was nice to visit these sites as I missed them most of the summer and both are worth checking out. If you need to have dinner before leaving the neighborhood, Broadway is lined with many interesting Dominican restaurants that are reasonable and have nice menu’s.

Places to Visit:

Morris-Jumel Mansion

65 Jumel Terrace

New York, NY  10032

(212) 923-8008

http://www.morrisjumel.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d103500-Reviews-Morris_Jumel_Mansion-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on my blog, “VisitingaMuseum.com”:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/252

 

Little Red Lighthouse

Fort Washington Park

Hudson River Greenway

New York, NY  10032

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/fort-washington-park/highlights/11044

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d2368581-Reviews-Little_Red_Lighthouse-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on my blog, “VisitingaMuseum.com”:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/300

 

Places to Eat:

Esmeraldo Bakery

538 West 18st Street

New York, NY  10033

(212) 543-2250

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d5098947-Reviews-Esmeraldo_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/1364

Day Twenty One: Walking the Amsterdam Avenue to High Bridge Park in Washington Heights October 30th, 2015

On a beautiful sunny day in Washington Heights,  I finally finished my travels up Amsterdam Avenue from 181st Street to the corner of Fort George Avenue. My first stop was McNally Plaza as I crossed the street to start the walk up Amsterdam Avenue. The park and its fall foliage was beckoning. McNally is a small park right by the Washington Bridge leading to the Bronx.

McNally Plaza Park is named after World War I Corporal Richard J. McNally, who lived in the neighborhood and was killed at the end of the war in September of 1918 (NYCParks.com).

McNally Plaza Park

McNally Plaza Park

I don’t recommend taking a walk on this busy bridge but for a short distance it offers the most amazing views of the East River and of the foliage in High Bridge Park below. You can see the few joggers and bicyclists below that had finished their day at work. The rolling hills remind me of my travels in Inwood.

As I walked up Amsterdam Avenue, I passed by the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (Wheels), that was letting out for the day. There is the most amazing street vendor just out side the school who makes freshly fried pastilitos  and croquet’s filled with beef, cheese or chicken. She is located just outside the door to the school at 182nd Street and try to catch her before she leaves the school area. You can pick up a nice lunch for about $3.00 and her beef pastilitos are the best.

As the kids were leaving for the day, there was a superhero performance that some outside vendor was putting on for the kids and they were truly engaged by the performance. They had the kids singing and dancing right on the street to the amusement of all the parents who looked happy for the distraction. I forgot what is was like to be in elementary school and have time to just relax and have fun. It may not have been the best performance but the actors  knew how to relate to the kids and it was fun to watch.

The George Washington School at the tip of Amsterdam Avenue was letting out for the day, so when I reached the top of the avenue there was a swirl of activity. The students swarmed all the local businesses to socialize with their friends and have snacks. When school let out for the day, this is a very busy area. Their are about five public and three private schools in the area and after school the kids keep themselves occupied with hanging out at the local parks or outside popular businesses in the neighborhood.

My first stop in the neighborhood was an ice cream parlor that is a popular hangout Rincocito Ice Cream at 1650 St. Nicolas Avenue that I had passed many times in this part of the neighborhood. It is located by the convergence of all the avenues starting points to the north. I had a delicious ice cream named ‘Perry’s Birthday’ which you have to try when you visit this neat little shop. I had it in a fresh waffle cone and it is a combination of birthday cake and cotton candy ice creams. For $2.50 for two large scoops, it was quite the deal and hit the spot on this unusually hot day.

After my snack started my long day of walking down the streets, starting at 193rd Street, one of the shortest streets in the walk to all the way down to 181st Street. It was walking on both sides of the streets criss-crossing the avenues. There was quite a view of High Bridge Park from Laurel Hill Terrance that abuts Yeshiva University. The fall foliage is in full glory in the park at this time and try to get into the park before the array colors is gone. Many of the students from Yeshiva and the local schools were using the park and the playgrounds in droves, enjoying the last warm days of the summer that crept into fall. Lauren Hill Terrace gives you such a nice view of the park.

High Bridge Park III

High Bridge Park

As I criss-crossed most of the streets, they are lined with beautiful pre-war buildings with less activity then in the past. As the weather has cooled, I don’t see as many people on the street either playing dominoes or conversing in fold-up chairs. Still there were lots of kids milling around talking to their friends.

On 182nd Street, there was a small grouping of brownstones that were out of place with the rest of the block. The residents had them beautifully decorated for Halloween with all sorts of spider webs, skeletons and hay/corn stalk displays. They did a good job putting me into the Halloween spirit. They were entertaining a group of people who were dressed like they were getting ready for a party.

halloween in Washington Heights

Halloween in Washington Heights

By the time I reached my goal of 181st Street, it was nightfall with the bustle of a street teaming with activity. Since this is a major shopping block, the stores were bustling with activity. There are loads of interesting street vendors to choose from selling all sorts of hot snacks, from roasted pork, hot soup, pastilitos, croquettes, ices and soft tacos there is a never ending choice of freshly cooked food that is made right in front of you. These vendors line 181st Street between Amsterdam and Broadway.

My day ended at the Morgan Library at 225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street for a screening of ‘Nosferatu’, the silent German version of ‘Dracula’ made back in 1922. The screening was packed on this pre-Halloween night with patrons who enjoyed the musical performance during the film. Between the foliage in the park, the decorations around the city and the movie, it put me into the spirit of Halloween.

Don’t miss ‘Nosferatu’ from 1922, the German Count Dracula

 

Places to Visit:

 

High Bridge Park

190th & Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY  10040

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/highbridge-park

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/highbridgepark-bronx

 

Morgan Library

225 Madison Avenue

New York, NY  10016

(212) 685-0008

https://www.themorgan.org/

Open: Sunday 11:00am-6:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Thursday 10:30am-5:00pm/Friday 10:30am-9:30pm/Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm

Fee: Adults $22.00/Seniors $14.00/Students $13.00/Free to Members and Children under 12 (with an Adult supervising)

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d107356-Reviews-The_Morgan_Library_Museum-New_York_City_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

 

Places to Eat:

Rincocito Ice Cream

1650 Saint Nichols Avenue

New York, NY  10033

Open:

My review on TripAdvisor:

Day Nineteen: Walking the East Side of Broadway Washington Heights from 193rd to 155th Streets from St. Nicolas Avenue to High Bridge Park October 19th, 2015

I never realized that walking around Washington Heights would take so long but there is a little secret to the neighborhood. It isn’t flat! I have never walked up and down so many hills. This part of the island reminds you that hills and rock formations still exist on the island of Manhattan. You just don’t see them that much in Midtown.

I started my day just getting into New York City. The buses run so funny in the morning. Then it was a grueling day at the Soup Kitchen that I volunteer at some mornings when I am in the city. Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen was buzzing away today with a chicken curry entrée that had people coming back for thirds and fourths and we did not close until almost 12:40pm. Then it was the trip uptown. It does take a while to get to that part of Manhattan and as usual there were a lot of surprises that awaited.

When you get out of the A Train at 190th Street, the tunnel leading to the street on both sides has the most colorful street art on all the walls. Really take your time to look at the ‘tag’ work. This is now considered an art form in the city (as long as it does not disrupt or damage property) and you really have to look at the fringe neighborhoods, like Red Hook and Bushwick, for the inspirations. This tunnel shows a colorful display of street art that is actually allowed in the station and look to both walls and ceiling for the creative juices of many of these artists. The work is just amazing with colorful symbols and letter adorning the entire tunnel on the way out.

191th Subway Station.jpg

191st Subway Station is ever changing.

My walk today consisted of the entire lengths of the avenues in eastern Washington Heights. I walked the entire lengths of both Audubon Avenue and St. Nicholas Avenue and covered almost all of Amsterdam Avenue having to finally stop at 181 Street because it was getting dark and my feet were killing me. I walked both sides of the avenues from the tip of the neighborhood at 192nd Street to the border of the neighborhood at 155th Street. Needless to say, it was a long trip.

190th Subway

190th Street Subway Station

Audubon Avenue is more residential with many pre-war buildings that are in the middle of renovations or have already been renovation. St. Nicolas Avenue is more commercial with small businesses and street vendors filling up most of the storefronts along the avenue.

My first stop was Esmeraldo Bakery at 538 West 181st Street  (See review on TripAdvisor.com and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com), a small hole in the wall bakery that offers an array of sweets and hot snacks. I enjoyed a beef and rice croquet, which are well-known in many of the Dominican bakeries I have visited in Washington Heights and a large twisted cinnamon sugar doughnut, which was a messy, sugary delight.

Esmeraldo Bakery III

Esmeraldo Bakery 538 West 181st Street

For the price of $2.00, this gem of a bakery is a reasonable place to fill up on carbs for the long walk around the neighborhood. The service is super friendly and they speak both English and Spanish. Their selection is really good and take a few extras along the way.

Esmeraldo Bakery

The pastries at Esmeraldo Bakery are delicious and reasonable

Audubon Avenue offers some beautiful pre-war apartment buildings, many of which like the rest of the neighborhood are in the process of renovation. A lot of this neighborhood is under scaffolding. There are unique brownstones and townhouses to view on the way down the street in between the buildings. Yeshiva University sits in the low 180’s and this area during the day is dominated by college students and professors, who are milling around between classes and a lot of the businesses in the area cater to this population with many nice restaurants and stores. When classes let out in the evening, you are on a very business campus and would not know that you are still in Washington Heights.

Audubon Avenue stops at 165th Street to merge into St. Nicholas Avenue and a very busy shopping area. At the merger of St. Nicholas and Amsterdam Avenues, you walk past the C-Town grocery store to find the Sylvan Terrace, which is 20 identical homes that were once part of the entrance to the Morris-Jumel Mansion (See review on TripAdvisor.com and VisitingaMuseum.com), once home to Aaron Burr’s second wife, Eliza Jumel.

morris-jumel mansion II

The Morris-Jumel Mansion

Sylvan Terrace was built in 1882 and was once part of the original Old Post Road from New York to Boston. The homes that now surround the street were built by James E. Ray between 1890 and 1902. The architect was influenced by the Queen Anne, Romanesque and Renaissance Revival influences and the homes are built with the Queen Ann style in mind (IloveWashingtonHeights.com).

These homes have been painfully restored back to their true glory and rumored to be going for about a million each. Their uniform painting and beautiful cobblestone streets leading to the mansion seem totally out-of-place with the rest of the neighborhood. So climb the stairs and enjoy the walk down the street. This pathway was once part of the East Post Road that lead to Boston.

Sylvan Terrace and Morris-Jumel Mansion

Sylvan Terrace

At the end of the block is the Morris-Jumel Mansion (see review on TripAdvisor & VisitingaMuseum.com), which was unfortunately closed the day I was there but I got to walk the ground and sit in the mansion’s colorful garden that had yet to give way to the fall season. There was still a bit of summer left in that afternoon and it was nice to enjoy it walking the flowery paths and stone benches. It has a great view of the river and the neighborhood below as this area was once the summer and weekend homes of the wealthy downtown when upper Manhattan was still considered the ‘wilderness’. Another version of this you can see at the Gracie Mansion in the 90’s which I will also see in the future.

Morris-JUmel Mansion gardens

Morris-Jumel Mansion gardens in the summer months

Take some time to stroll these paths and then walk around the Jumel Terrace Historical District, which is lined with turn of the last century apartment buildings and classic brownstones that are starting to be decorated for Halloween. They have a classic Edith Wharton look to them. This neighborhood is an oasis for the rest of the area and is tucked into this small three block radius. I took some time to really see how everyone had renovated their homes.

Morris-Jumel Historic District

Morris-Jumel Historic District

As you walk out of the Historical district, at 157th Street, you end up in a dead-end street with the picturesque Bushman Steps, a staircase that leads to Edgecombe Avenue and the very edge of High Bridge Park. On a sunny afternoon, this little park offers much refuge to the warm afternoon and a beautiful view to boot. This pocket park really makes the street pop and gives it a feel of ‘Old New York’, lined with trees and flowers.

At the end of 155th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, there is a series of unique brownstones at various stages of renovation. This row of brownstones are in various stages of renovation but like the rest of the area will be highly desirable in the future. These homes really stick out amongst the more modern buildings. My goal to 155th Street was complete as another more modern building is on the other side of 155th Street showing that many changes are happening in this area.

On the way back up St. Nicholas Avenue to the other side of Audubon Avenue, the schools were letting out and students and parents alike to converging to the bakeries and fast food restaurants that line the area.

My next stop was at El Manantial Bakery at 325 St. Nicholas Avenue (see review on TripAdvisor) for pastilitos  and a guava empanada. The pastilitos were filled with both chicken and beef and the guava empanada was filled with a guava jelly that all were really good. The pastilitos had just been fried and they had that juicy greasiness that something gets right out of the fryer. Make sure to order the beef ones. You will need a snack by this point. I only spend about $3.25 for two pastilitos, one pastry and a coke. Quite a steal!

El Manantial Bakery

El Manantial Bakery at 325 St. Nicolas Avenue

The walk up and down St. Nicholas you will see one of the most active shopping districts that will compare to 207th and 181st Streets. So many things can be bought and sold on this avenue. Some of the most interesting street vendors are located between 180th to 187th Streets selling ices, pastilitos, fried pork, fried pastries, dolls, books, household appliances and even Christmas ornaments.

El Manantial Bakery II

El Manantial Bakery has a wonderful selection of goodies

People were out in droves when school let out and many children were begging their parents for a snack. This can be a very active Avenue with many interesting restaurants to try in the future. St. Nicholas Avenue buzzed with activity from one end of the avenue to the other, especially as you arrived back at the hospital point by 168th Street. Columbia Presbyterian is taking over all the blocks at this location, changing the demographics and buildings.

I revisited the area again during the Christmas holiday season and this neighborhood is very lively with all the restaurants and stores in full swing. The area is also nicely decorated with light displays and music. There are a lot of nice restaurant and shops to choose from along the 181st Street corridor from Broadway to Amsterdam Avenue.

My last part of the walk took me up and down the Amsterdam Avenue, which as it gets dark can get quite gloomy with its industrial feel to it. Parts of the it by High Bridge Park both by Fort George Avenue and between 181st and 170th Streets can be pretty, for the most part gentrification has left this part of the neighborhood alone.

High Bridge Park III

High Bridge Park

By the time I rounded 155th Street and arrived at 181st, it was starting to get dark and my feet and legs were ready to give out. Even the snacks did not help as I started to get hungry and with the dark started to come the fall cold nights. I have a lot more to walk in this neighborhood but just as much to explore.

 

Places to Visit:

 

High Bridge Park

190th & Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10040

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/highbridge-park

https://www.nycgovparks.org/park-features/highbridge-park/planyc

 

Sylvan Terrace Houses

Between 161st and 160th Street

New York, NY 10032

Sylvan Terrace: A Hidden Gem In Washington Heights

 

Morris-Jumel Mansion & Historic District

65 Jumel Terrace

Washington Heights, NY 10033

(212) 923-8008

http://www.morrisjumel.org/

http://www.morrisjumel.org/briefhistory/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d103500-Reviews-Morris_Jumel_Mansion-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/252

 

Places to Eat:

 

Esmeraldo Bakery

538 West 181 Street

New York, NY  10033

(212) 543-2250

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d5098947-Reviews-Esmeraldo_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/1364

 

El Manantial Bakery

1220 Saint Nichols Avenue

New York, NY  10033

(212) 795-0055

Open: Sunday-Saturday 5:30am-9:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4987781-Reviews-El_Manantial_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

 

I found this posted YouTube by Beth Frank and I give her credit for it. It is walking around Sylvan Terrace and the Morris-Jumel Historic District

Day Eighteen: East Side of Broadway Washington Heights from Wadsworth Terrace to Wadsworth Avenue West 187th to 173rd Street October 9th, 2015

I’m back in Washington Heights again traveling on the East side of Broadway and exploring all the side streets. I started my day walking along the length of 187th Street. I swear I find some great bakeries and restaurants in the neighborhood.

I started with a snack at the Grullon Bakery II at 575 West 187th Street. This local bakery has a wonderful selection of Dominican pastries and meat pies. The pastilitos here are really good. The chicken filling is spiced well and fried crisp. Their cubanos stuffed pastries are wonderful as well. They are similar to the pastilitos but a different dough and a sweeten outside.

Grullon Bakery

Grullon Bakery II at 575 West 187th Street

All of their meat pastries run around $1.00 so it makes a nice travelling snack. Also check out some of their sweetened pastries as well. I have to say one thing, the staff   seemed very amused by me eating there. I figured they don’t see too many customers who are not Dominican.

I was able to walk the whole distance of Wadsworth Avenue before nightfall. Now that the days are getting shorter, its harder to walk the distance before it gets too dark. Wadsworth is lined with many beautiful pre-war apartments but one section that is really nice is by Fairview Avenue with buildings that are shaped by the curvature of the road. Take a good look up and really look at this building. Its design is really unique and the look of the apartments inside must be interesting.

Walking down Fort George Avenue it seemed to me that everyone is obsessed with washing their cars. All up and down the street, everyone was power washing their cars and trucks so be on the look out for streams of water. This is quite a walk up and down the hill passing the upper part of High Bridge Park which is loaded with trash in this part of the park. Even though this part of the park is loaded with interesting rock formation, it isn’t well taken care of and loaded with weeds.

I walked through Gorman Park off Wadsworth Avenue, which is unusual as the park starts on Broadway and you walk up the steps to the sitting area up above. It offers a nice view the surrounding area and the parks on the other side of the island. When you walk up the many flights of stairs, you will notice this park is also filled with weeds. The sitting area at the top of the park offers many benches and just as many nice views.

The park is dedicated to Gertie Amelia Gorman, a real estate investor at the request of her family. It is a nice place to relax after a long day of walking. Her daughter, Gertie Emily Webb gave the City Parks system $25,000 for the establishment of the park and a $50,000 trust to maintain it (NYCParks.com).

Gorman Park II

Gorman Park on Wadsworth Terrace

I walked the whole length of Wadsworth Avenue and back and then I started the length of St. Nicholas Avenue when night fell. I just walked one side of the road on the way back to the subway station. There is a lot of hustle on the avenue with street vendors hawking their wares and small food vendors selling ices, juices, pastilitos and fresh fruit. The stores that line this section of the block are loaded with life as everyone is rushing around either looking or buying.

For dinner that evening, I stopped at El Malecon Restaurant at 4141 Broadway. I passed the restaurant many times on the walk up and down Broadway and it offers a very interesting menu of Dominican, Caribbean and Spanish dishes. I had their chicken quesadilla there was served with fresh guacamole, which were freshly fried and bursting with flavor and then had the Shrimp with Garlic Sauce with a mound of rice and a side of beans.

El Malecon

El Malecon at 4141 Broadway in Washington Heights

The portion sizes are very big so come prepared with a big appetite. The service can be a little rough if you don’t speak Spanish that well but they will try to help you with the menu. The place should not be missed when travelling up this way.

El Malecon II

Their Shrimp with Garlic Sauce was excellent

On the way back to the subway, I noticed that people are still outside in the cool night air playing dominoes and cards. Even in the cool weather, the island way of life still rings true in this neighborhood and it feels a whole lot safer.

Places to Visit:

 

High Bridge Park

190th & Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY  10040

https://www.nycgovparks.org/park-features/highbridge-park/planyc

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/highbridge-park

 

Gorman Park

Wadsworth Terrace & 188th-190th Streets

New York, NY  10040

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/amelia-gorman-park

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/amelia-gorman-park/history

 

Places to Eat:

 

El Malecon Restaurant

4141 Broadway

New York, NY 10033

(212) 927-3812

http://maleconrestaurants.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d479178-Reviews-El_Malecon_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

Grullon Bakery II

575 West 187th Street

New York, NY 10033

(212) 740-1190

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d10424741-Reviews-Grullon_1_Bakery-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

 

Day Seventeen: Walking the Washington Heights Border: 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

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

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. 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

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.

Audubon Trerrace

Audubon Terrace is on one side of East 155th Street

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.

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

Day Fifteen: First Day of Fall Washington Heights to Harlem 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. 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

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

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

I spent time in Bennett Park 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

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

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

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, its 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

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

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

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

 

Places to eat:

La Neuva 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

Day Seven: Visiting Lower Inwood Park Neighborhood August 15th, 2015 (revisited again December 2019)

My walk today took me all over the lower park of Inwood. My all day walk took me from the northern border of 207th Street to the Harlem River covering both sides of Dyckman Street to Inwood Park and the Marina area covering Payson Avenue and the lower part of Seaman Avenue. My legs were killing me at the end of the day but the sites I saw were amazing.

I started at the 207th Street stop and walked up 207th Street walking both sides and peeking into the small businesses that lined the street. There are still a lot of Mom & Pop stores in this area catering to the local clientele. On a recent visit to the neighborhood I had both breakfast and lunch at G’s Coffee Shop at 634 207th Street (see reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com). The food is so reasonable (their breakfasts are delicious) and the service is very friendly. You feel like you are part of the neighborhood here.

G's Coffee Shop I

G’s Coffee Shop burgers at 634 207th Street are excellent

I walked both sides up and down Seaman Avenue lined with pre-war apartments and sprinkled in with some small houses. Then I back tracked to walking the side streets of 204th Street, Cooper Street,  Academy Street, Beak Street and Cumming Street admiring all the buildings and pocket parks along the way. I doubled back to Seaman Avenue and walked Payson Avenue which lines Inwood Hill Park.

The apartment buildings that face the park are offered spectacular views of the flora and fauna of the park and paths leading into the park are just steps away. It is interesting that taking some of the paths off Payson Avenue lead you right into the interior of the park and takes you into the interior of a forest right on Manhattan Island.

Once you exit Payson Avenue to Dyckman Street, walk the stretch of Inwood Hill Park to the end. You will pass a very active playground which on the weekend seems to be one long birthday party. At the end of Dyckman Street on the Hudson River side you will find the very edge of Inwood Park that leads to La Marina Restaurant at 348 Dyckman Street on one side that offers sweeping views of Hudson River and the Palisades on the New Jersey side.

The other side of the street leads to the soccer fields and to the Dyckman Street pier and next to it a small picturesque beach and rock formation. It offers some of the best views of the Hudson River and who knew that there was a beach in this part of Manhattan. On a sunny day, it is the most relaxing place to relax on the benches and just look at the view of the Hudson River and the cliffs across the river.

Dyckman Beach Picture

This little beach is interesting in warm weather.

After a long rest, I walked back down Dyckman Street to cover the area between that and Riverside Drive which opens to Fort Tryon Park. These streets have a row of pre-war apartment buildings that offer great views of the park and as you exit, more small pocket parks and playgrounds are on both sides. Dyckman Street between Payson Avenue and Broadway is lined with upscale eateries making it the ‘Restaurant Row’ of Inwood with more on the way.

Fort Tryon Park I

Tort Tyron Park entrance

I took the walk to the other side of Dyckman Street that lead to Fort Tyron Park and from the hill offers another view of the Hudson. I relaxed in two smaller parks that are part of this sea of green on Dyckman Street. The very active Ann Loftus Playground, named after a local neighborhood leader,  had all the rambunctious charm that a playground should have with kids playing on the swings, jumping through an active fountain and climbing on the jungle gym, which I thought had been outlawed since the 80’s. Parents chatted with one another while kids ran all over the park.

Ann Loftus Park.jpg

Ann Loftus Playground and Park

Another park across the street, the Lt. William Tighe Park Triangle, which is named after a prominent Inwood resident and veteran of two World Wars, was locked for the day but I could see the colorful plantings and small benches that lined the park. This park sits across from the Dyckman Street ‘Restaurant Row”.

william tighe park

William Tighe Park Triangle

I made my first pit stop of the day at McDonald’s for one of their new frozen Strawberry Lemonade ($2.00). I have been swearing off McDonald’s for a while but this is something so perfect and wonderful to have on a hot humid day. It is so sweet and tart it will quench your thirst while you are walking around the area. It is the perfect fast food drink.

I made my way down Dyckman Street on the other side, passing many family owned businesses catering to the neighborhood and a few national chains proving that this area is very up and coming. I covered the lower parts of Sherman, Post and Nagel Streets lined with their apartment buildings and businesses until I passed  Fort George Avenue and the start of High Bridge Park.

Inwood Hill Park IV

The entrance to High Bridge Park off 207th Street in the Fall

Along the stretch of Dyckman Street the park while rustic was full of trash. It wrecked the effect of the high hills and large boulders with their small paths. Once passing 10th Avenue, I reached the entrance of Harlem River Drive and the beginning of High Bridge Park with the lush greenery and small parks and gardens within the larger park.

High Bridge Park is unique in itself that there are many smaller parks that are part of it. As I walked into the park on a busy weekend day, it seemed that every family in the area was either having a barbecue or a birthday party as people were cooking in every part of the lawn that was open. As you enter the park and walk down the path off Harlem River Drive you find the quiet and secluded Swindler Cove Park with its well-tended paths and natural preserve appearance along with beautiful views of the Harlem River. These winding paths will take you through the back woods and offers nice places to sit and chat.

High Bridge Park IV

High Bridge Park

I then walked up 10th and 9th Avenues crisscrossing the side streets up to 207th street. At the end of each side street from 201st through 207th there is a small park at the end of the block that the park system runs. Again these parks, as small as they were filled with families having small parties. Each little park was called Sherman Cove Park and all offered nice views of the Harlem River.

Sherman Cove Park

Sherman Cove Park

It was a nice place to rest after a long day of walking. I finished my walk on this side of Inwood with a grape soda at the Community Food Store at 2893 Broadway. This bustling store offers everything you need for a day in the park or to run a small business.

My last stop of the day when I doubled back down 207th Street was a snack at Dichter Pharmacy and Soda Shoppe at 4953 Broadway. This Pharmacy is a throw back to the old Woolworth stores with the things you need to buy in the front and an ice cream parlor and lunch counter to the side. I saw their sign for ‘the best ice cream sundae’s in New York’, so I had to test their claim. I was not disappointed. I had a vanilla and blueberry sundae that hit the spot after a hot day and was tempted with an order of Mozzarella sticks but decided to be good.

Ditcher Pharmacy

Dichter Pharmacy at 4953 Broadway

They have a full menu of lunch and dinner items and it is worth checking out this unique spot. It is worth it just to sit back and chat with the soda jerk. So many great things to see today though my feet were killing me.

 

Places to Eat:

Dichter Pharmacy and Soda Shoppe

4953 Broadway

New York, NY 10034

(212) 569-1230

Open: Monday-Saturday-9:00am-7:00pm/ Sunday-Closed

Review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d8439353-Reviews-Dichter_Pharmacy-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

McDonald’s

208 Dyckman Street

New York, NY  10039

(212) 569-2909

http://www.mcdonalds.com

Open: 24 hours

Review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d5065796-Reviews-McDonald_s-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

La Marina (now closed)

348 Dyckman Street

New York, NY  10039

(212) 567-6300

http://www.lamarinanyc.com

Open: Monday-Thursday-3:00pm-12:00am/Friday-3:00pm-1:00am/Saturday-11:00am-1:00pm/Sunday-11:00am-12:00am

My review of La Marina on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d3459344-Reviews-La_Marina-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

Community Food & Juice

2893 Broadway

New York, NY 10025

(212) 665-2850

Open: Monday-Friday-8:00am-9:00pm/Saturday-9:00am-10:00pm/Sunday-8:00am-9:00pm

 

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

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/1103

 

Places to Visit:

 

Ann Loftus Playground

4746 Broadway

New York, NY  10040

https://www.nycgovparks.org/planning-and-building/capital-project-tracker/project/8827

Anne Loftus Playground

Open: 6:00am-1:00am

 

Fort Tyron Park

Riverside Drive to Broadway

New York, NY  10040

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

(212) 795-1388

Open: 6:00am-1:00am,

 

Lt. William Tighe Triangle Park

Dyckman Street & Riverside Drive

New York, NY 10034

(212) 639-9675

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

Open: 24 hours

 

Inwood Hill Park

Off Payson Avenue & Dyckman Street

New York, NY  10024

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

(212) 695-9675

Open: 6:00am-1:00am

 

Swindler’s Cove Park/Sherman Creek

3703 Harlem River Drive

New York, NY  10034

(212) 333-2552

Open: 8:00am-8:00pm

https://www.nyrp.org/green-spaces/park-details/sherman-creek-park/

 

Highbridge Park

New York, NY  10040

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/highland-park

 

 

Day Two: Independence Day in Inwood July 4th, 2015

Taking the number One subway back uptown, I continued my travels to 215th Street station right next to the Columbia complex and sports center. My journey took me to 10th Avenue from the tip of the island to West 220th Street to West 207th Street. For you folks out there they think the island of Manhattan is completely gentrified with upscale housing and businesses, you must visit this part of Manhattan. There is hardly a Gucci store on every corner.

This has got to be the most commercial area of Manhattan I have seen so far. Home to Time Warner repair trucks, the NYC Sanitation Department, the MTA Headquarters and the Knightsbridge Terminal it made for  interesting walk. Between 9th and 10th Avenue from 218th Street to 216th Streets is the Knightsbridge Bus Terminal, which is the center of much action throughout the day.

The New York Sanitation Department is located from 216th Street to 214th Streets and it is best to avoid this area most of the day. It was quiet on the 4th of July. The only person I saw was a security guard and his dog, who was so happy to see someone he jumped up and down. When I went back to tour the area later in the month, it was a whirlwind of action with garbage trucks going in and out of buildings and the place really smelled. It is not exactly an area I would recommend to tourists unless they want to see how the city really runs.

All along 9th Avenue are places to get your car repaired and washed. At the end of every street, there is a nice view of the river but I would suggest holding your nose. From 214th Street to 207th Street, The MTA has their building behind high walls and barbed wire. 208th Street has a parking lot and a few truck vendors. Not much to see here and the operation is behind closed doors.

MTA Facility Manhattan

The MTA Facility and the New York Sanitation Department Facility take up most of the corner of this part of Manhattan

Parts of lower 10th Avenue are being gentrified as some of the former parking garages and repair shops are giving way to small more upscale restaurants. The area around the subway station at 207th Street is a bustling shopping area catering to the large Dominican population living on the Broadway side of Inwood with everyday stores, very reasonable and good restaurants specializing in Dominican and Spanish cuisine and several clothing stores. This area is slowly going through a transition as the neighborhood is starting to change to a younger, more arty crowd.

Inwood Hill Park III

 

Inwood Hill Park by 207th Street

The best part of this part of 207th Street is the local street cart vendors selling everything from Pastelitos (a kind of empanada) to fresh mango juice and shaved ice all for around a dollar. It is a nice way to have a reasonable to go meal while you are walking around. One restaurant for delicious Pastelitos is El Lina at 500 207th Street.

El Lina Restaurant

El Lina Restaurant at 500 207th Street

Their fillings are generous and the service is very friendly. It is one of the many restaurants that line the ‘restaurant mile’ on 207th Street. From the subway station to Broadway, it is interesting to look at the menus and peak in the windows of the many shops and dining establishments that line both sides of the street.

empanada stand II

El Lina’s Pastilitos are delicious

This vibrant section of the neighborhood hustled every day that I visited it and the subway stop is always busy. If you are looking for tourist spots and excitement, it’s not for you. If you want a true experience in Dominican culture and food, a trip to this part of Inwood is for you. It is not just the restaurants and shops that make the neighborhood, it is the interaction of the people in the neighborhood, the music, the conversations and debates and the overall life of the streets that make this neighborhood a neighborhood.

Places to Visit:

 

Inwood Hill Park

Payson & Seaman Avenues

New York, NY  10034

(212) 639-9675

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

 

Very tip of Manhattan from Dyckman Street to 220th Street

The Side Walk Shopping starts on Broadway  down 207th Street to 10th Avenue:

Don’t miss the street bazaar at 207th Street with the carts of merchandise, music and food.

 

Places to Eat:

El Lina

500 207th Street

New York, NY  10034

(212) 567-5031

Open: Sunday-Saturday 8:00am-11:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

 

The many street vendors along 207th Street during the week but especially on the weekends.