Tag Archives: Inwood

Day Twelve: Washington Heights 177th Street & West of Broadway September 8th, 2015

I finished the remainder of the my walk of the lower part of Fort Tyron Park today. What a scorcher of a day at 95F and the humidity was not great either. The initial part of this walk started at the middle of the park at the 190 Street station. Take the elevator from the subway station to the top floor and exit through the park. You will be in front of the Margaret Corbin Circle, a beautifully landscaped cul-de -sac at the lower end of the park, where the buses drop everyone off. In season, the flowers are a colorful bouquet of different varieties with the green of the trees in the background.

I walked around the Stan Michels Promenade past the Heather Gardens. It is such a great place to stroll and look at the various plantings. I was floored when I saw crocuses blooming this time of year when they are a Spring flower. The Heather Gardens to the side of the promenade was in full bloom and I took the time out to see what was planted. All sorts of birds, butterflies and bees make this their home so be on the look out for things flying around.

I stopped for lunch at the New Leaf Café at 1 Margaret Corbin Drive. This pretty little restaurant is as you enter the park and a short walk from the subway terminal. I have to admit that the restaurant is just beautiful with a great location and the view from the patio is pretty spectacular but the food doesn’t match it. The cheeseburger I ordered nicely cooked with no flavor, the fries were standard and the dessert menu was pretty boring. It can be pricey on the lunch menu so stick to the sandwiches.

The service is friendly and attentive. The waiter I had, Sarah, was explaining to me how she was training in some new people and was a little distracted. I thought she was perfectly fine. I told her I loved the view and the restaurant but the meal did not match the atmosphere. She explained that they are still working on the dessert menu and new things are being added. It is a place to visit for the view alone. (Note to readers: You can see all my restaurant and attraction reviews on TripAdvisor)

I relaxed after lunch on the Linden Terrace, a stone terrace that has views of the park and in the distance, the Hudson River. It is a great place to relax in the shade on a hot day and read a book or the paper. I plotted my game plan of the neighborhood and took the elevator back down to Broadway and walked from 190th Street to 177th Street. It was a nice walk on a hot day.

Fort Tyron Park has an interesting history. The park is named after Sir William Tyron, the last British Governor of the Providence of New York. It was donated to the City by John D. Rockefeller Jr in 1935 after buying the old C. K. G. estate and employing the firm of the Olmstead Brothers, who created Central Park, to redesign it into a park. The Battle of Fort Washington was fought here during the Revolutionary War and the first women to fight in Battle here, Margaret Corbin (who the road is named after) was wounded here. The park had fallen in hard times in the 70’s and 80’s and has now received a full restoration (Wiki).

Fort Tryon Park I

Walking under the George Washington Bridge is something new for me. You never realize how busy that bridge is until you walk under it and around it. I was surprised by all the construction around the bridge. It seems that they are building retail space under the bridge. Who knew you could develop upscale shopping under the George Washington Bridge.

As I walked around 177th Street on the west side of Broadway the one thing I noticed was the classic housing stock around Cabrini and Haven Avenues. It is really beautiful with elegant entrances and pillared fronts. The buildings do need some work but this area has interesting housing stock.

I took an interesting detour around the playground and under the bridge off Haven Avenue. When you walk up the crumbling steps to the walk way around the entrance and exit to the George Washington Bridge, it takes you around a spiral path around the streets through mountains of household garbage that the homeless must discard, places where these people must sleep or gang members meet and the worst part is when you finish following the path, you must turn around and go back the way you came because the path is blocked off at the other end by a wooden door as the stairs on the other side is being repaired. This little side trip is not for the faint hearted as you do not have much room to walk around and to any passerby by car, they would have their own thoughts of why you are up there.

The street art around the playground at 177th Street is very interesting and if you decide to take the walk around the bridge area, check out the painting along the cement rail of the three faces. It really is a unique piece of art work. Walking up the hill on 181st Street, there are some great shops and restaurants and the view walking up the hill is quite a site. It looks like a street in San Francisco.

My path took me up Carbrini Avenue past the Castle Village Apartment complex, a series of buildings with a spectacular view of the Hudson River and nicely landscaped yards around the buildings. The details along the buildings really make the complex seem like a series of medieval buildings and from what I could see from the street level a very nice place to live. The path up the road lead me right back to Fort Tyron Park, fitting from what I saw on the way up the road.

castle hill apartments

Castle Hill Apartments and park

On my way back down the avenue, I criss-crossed the side streets at 190th, 187th, 181st, 180th and 179th, looking over the various restaurants and stores in the area. All around me I can see signs that the neighborhood is in the process of changing as the smaller low scale establishments are being replaced with more updated restaurants, shops and coffee bars. Some of the true neighborhood stores you can tell are keeping up by changing their signs and frontage displays to cater to the new comers. There is a real change going on in this part of the area and local merchants are starting to cash in on their new clientele while keeping the old ones happy. I stopped by a vendor selling shaved rainbow ice for $1.00. These little ice vendors are a pleasure on a hot day.

I double backed on Broadway and walked up Overlook Terrace and believe me, there is a reason why they call it that. You really have to walk up a hill and by time you reach the top by the hospital, you really have a nice view of the neighborhood. I took this to 190th Street right back up to Fort Tyron Park. You’ll find that all the roads on this side of Broadway lead back to the park. I walked the side streets back down and made the turn making Bennett Avenue my final part of the day.

Bennett Avenue  like the other streets in this part of Washington Heights is dominated by natural rock formations that line pockets of the streets. Bennett Avenue is no exception as there are beautiful formations of rocks and trees that line the sides of the road on the western part of the street. Half way up make sure to stop at the Bennett Rest, a pocket park near the rock formations  to take a rest. It was a long day of the walking and this little park is right near a Gothic looking Lutheran Church that was having a Farmers Market. A nice distraction from looking at all the apartment buildings.

This part of upper Bennett Avenue must cater to the families working and attending Yeshiva University on the other side of Broadway as many Jewish families were walking around the neighborhood after work and relaxing in the parks in the neighborhood. The street is filled with classic looking pre-war apartments, some with doorman and chandelier foyers.

I complete my walk today walking back down Bennett Avenue. Note the beautiful rock formation that faces you walk down 192nd Street from Broadway. It is quite the site and reminds you that not all of Manhattan was blasted away to build things. I criss-crossed all the side street from the edge of Bennett to the beginning of 181st Street, noting all the businesses that faced Broadway and the restaurants that started to fill up for the evening. Note to walkers, there are some interesting restaurants around the 187th Street between Cabrini and Fort Washington Avenues to check out as well as some nice stores.

By nightfall, I was walking up the west side of Broadway from 179th Street to the Dyckman Street A Train entrance passing Fort Tyron Park for one last time that day. People still walk in this park at night and I saw joggers exiting. It is obviously an active park at all hours of the day. Ann Loftus Playground was still going strong even in the dark with little kids running around at 8:30pm.

Note: Avoid the McDonalds on Broadway and 180th Street. The service is terrible and they mix up your order.

For all the things people say about Washington Heights, you have to see it to believe it. It really is a nice neighborhood.

Places to Visit:

Fort Tryon Park

On Dyckman Street & Broadway

Heather Gardens & Linden Terrace & Ann Loftus Playground

Fort Tryon Park

Places to Eat:

New Leaf Cafe (In Fort Tryon Park

One Margret Corbin Drive

New York, NY  10040

(212) 568-5323

http://www.newleafcafe.com

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d478282-Reviews-New_Leaf_Restaurant_Bar-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Avoid the McDonald’s in the neighborhood. The food and service are horrible.

Day Ten and Eleven: Visiting Inwood Parks going up and down hills September 15th, 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 Moscota Marsh (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.

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 tot be in.

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

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

Ann Loftus Park

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. 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

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’.

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.

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 go:

Inwood Hill Park

Dyckman Street

New York, NY 10004

Fort Tyron Park

Riverside Drive to Broadway

New York, NY  10004

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 VistingaMuseum.com:

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

Ann Loftus Playground (Fort Tyron Park)

New York, NY 10004

William Tighe Triangle

Fort Tyron Park

New York, NY  10004

Moscato Marsh (Columbia University)

218 Indian Hill Road

New York, NY  10034

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

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

 

Day Nine: Between the Parks on Dyckman Street 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.

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 domino’s 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.

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.

Day Eight: Touring the Dyckman Farm House and the surrounding neighborhood 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.

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. 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.

On my back to the subway at 207th and Dyckman Street, I stopped at Tony’s Pizza and Pasta at 4771 Broadway 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.

It was a quick afternoon in the city but a nice walk for the day.

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

Open: Hours vary

Tony’s Pizza & Pasta

4771 Broadway

New York, NY  10034

(212) 544-7476

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

Day Seven: Visiting Lower Inwood Park Neighborhood August 15th, 2015

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 side 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. 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.

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 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”. 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. 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.

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.

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.

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 Visit:

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

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

 

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

 

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/

 

Highland Park

New York, NY  10040

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

 

 

Day Six: Walking in Inwood August 8th, 2015

My walks in Manhattan seem to have a late start. Work and household responsibilities come first but then the ride into the city is always anticipated.  I look forward to that walk around the neighborhood. My walk took from 218th Street to 207th Street from 10th Avenue to Inwood Hill Park. Today I started my trip in the late afternoon and started to walk on the other side of Broadway at 218th Street, home to the Columbia Athletic Complex.

As a Cornell Alumnus, I have spent many a day at the Stadium watching the on again off again rivalry between the two schools. In the last six years, I have attended three away games at the Columbia Stadium and I believe we have an even record with them. I have to admit that Cornell’s football record has not been great in the past few years but we as Alumni can still dream of that unbeaten season.

As I walked through the complex watching the Columbia team do its warm up, I have to tell you one thing, Even though our teams sit at the bottom of the Ivy League each year (we’ll get better), over the past three years I have noticed more cheering Cornell Alumni at the games, which our team seems to appreciate. It is funny to go to an away game and there are more people on the Cornell side of the stadium then the home team.

Columbia C

Columbia C at Marble Hill

Walking around the complex brings back many great memories of warm afternoons and the Alumni parade to the Cornell Club. Don’t miss the Lion statue in the middle of the complex. It really is quite a site. Grab an ice cream cone at the ice cream truck that is always parked at the entrance to Inwood Hill Park. His soft serve ice cream is $3.00 plus the chocolate topping, a dollar less than downtown.

On the edge of 218th Street, past of the Columbia Boathouse is the Muscota Marsh (See my reviews on VisitingaMuseum@Worpress.com and TripAdvisor) that overlooks the big ‘C’ on the cliffs in the foreground. This beautiful and relaxing little park can be reached by walking down the hill from the sports complex. It is the only fresh water marsh in the City of New York.

The Muscota Marsh is a one-acre public park adjacent to Inwood Hill Park and located on the shore of the Spuyten Duyvil Creek, which is a section of the Harlem River. Opened in 2014, the marsh has both a freshwater marsh and a salt marsh. Besides attracting plant and animal life, these wetlands are intended to help filter rainwater runoff and this helps to improve the water quality of the river. (Wikipedia).

Muscota Marsh

Muscota Marsh

The benches overlook both the Bronx and cliff views of New Jersey and a small piece of land that juts out from Inwood Hill Park that has a picturesque view in the foreground. It makes a nice walk to stroll amongst the benches and look at the plantings or just sit on a bench on a sunny afternoon and just enjoy the views. It is quiet and relaxing.

Once you leave the marsh, you enter Inwood Hill Park, which offers its own beauty, strolling along the paths and walking through the lawns and woods.  You will pass Indian Road Playground at 570 West 218th Street, a small park that is popular with the neighborhood kids. I went to the point of the park that juts into the river and watched a group of teenage boys fishing in the river. Traditions don’t die hard in this city as my grandfather did the same thing in the East River in the early 1900’s.

As you stroll down the path from this spot in the park and continue along the path, you will come across Shorakkopoch Rock, a boulder marking the site where Peter Minuet bought the island of Manhattan from the native Reckgawawang Indians for about 60 guilders of trinkets and beads in 1626  (See VisitingaMuseum@Wordpress.com and TripAdvisor). The boulder marks the spot of a giant 280 year old 165 foot tulip tree once stood until it died in 1932. Legend has it that this is the spot of one of the greatest real estate investments took place. It is such an important part of Manhattan history that most tourists miss.

Shorakkopoch Rock

Shorakkopoch Rock

Strolling back to the neighborhood, I walked down 218th Street and admired the homes that line the beginning of Park Terrace and the south side of 217th Street. These gothic looking homes have beautiful features and gardens to admire in the front. Their well-landscaped yards showcase the best in colorful flowers and shrubs that attract both small birds and butterflies. These homes remind us of a time when the neighborhood had a real residential feel to it. This part of Inwood reminds me a lot of Beacon Hill in Boston, with its sloping streets, well tended courtyards and prewar apartment buildings. Its a nice stroll just to pass the buildings and be taken back to a different time in the city.

In the middle of the neighborhood sits Isham Park  at Isham Street & Seaman Avenue. This was once part of the Isham family estate that the Isham family had donated to the City during the early part of the 20th Century. It was home to the Isham Mansion of William Bradley Isham. The mansion was torn down in 1940 due to disrepair. Bounded by Seaman Avenue and Broadway, this offers the neighborhood a quieter alternative to the bustling Inwood Hill Park next to it. What a lot of people don’t know is that Park Terrance leading into Isham was the original entrance to the Isham estate.

On this quiet afternoon, residents were reading, playing ball and catching up with their neighbors. It had a real family feel to it. Right off the park sits the Bruce Reynolds Memorial Gardens at 11 Park Avenue. These beautiful, well-landscaped paths were dedicated to Bruce Reynolds, a local resident and a former member of the N.Y. Parks Department and a Port Authority Police Officer who died on 9/11.

Bruce Reynolds Park

Bruce Reynold’s Park in bloom.

Mr. Reynolds had been a big part of the neighborhood clean up of the park and got local youths to help set it up when the gang problem in the neighborhood got to be too much. After time spent in the Parks Department as a ranger, he moved on to become a Port Authority Police Officer (NYParks Department).

These gardens are a legacy of his hard work to maintain this local neighborhood garden. It is a quiet place to sit and relax. The flowers were in full bloom when I visited and the gardens were loaded with bees, butterflies and birds moving along the flowering beds. I also want to note that the members of the community have Saturday potlucks and there are concerts open to the public in the warmer months. It is a pleasant park to sit and relax in.

My walk continued down 207th Street after covering all the roads from 218th Street to 207th Street from Inwood Park to Broadway. I was quite the hike up and down the hills. The neighborhood is surrounded by elegant pre-war housing especially around Park Terrance with its pocket gardens between the buildings. A nice place for the residents to get together and mingle while walking their dogs. 207th Street is mostly residential from the park to Broadway and then gets very commercial from Broadway to the entrance to the University Heights Bridge.

On a bustling summer day, people are out socializing, selling their wares on the sidewalk and there are fantastic street vendors selling everything from shaved ice with syrup, rainbow ices, fresh orange and fruit juice and pastelito’s fried right in front of you. All along this shopping street are reasonably priced stores selling clothing, cell phones and housewares. Here and there you can see some changes in the neighborhood with new restaurants catering to both old and new residents, but for the most part 207th Street is the equivalent to Mott Street in Chinatown except this street caters to the neighborhood’s strong Dominican community.

There are so many great options to eat on the street. D’Lillian Bakery at 526 207th Street has nice baked products and good doughnuts for a $1.00. There are terrific pastelito’s at a small cart on the corner of Sherman and 207th Street that fry theirs right in front of you and you have a choice of chicken, beef, egg and pork for a $1.00. This is one of the best deals and they are sizzling hot. Recommendation: buy two chicken and one beef and a coke with the guy next to them. It is a great walking lunch while exploring both sides of the shopping district. Finish the meal off with a rainbow ice, three scoops for $1.00 at a vendor on the other side of Sherman Avenue. Be prepared to speak your broken Spanish if you are not fluent.

D'Lillian Bakery

I ended my day at the corner of 207th and 10th Avenue having covered this whole part of Inwood. This is a beautiful, diverse and active neighborhood where everyone seems to get along and look out for one another. Even the vendors look you over as you enter the Number One subway back downtown. I don’t know if they are looking for business or making sure you’re not creating funny business. It’s part of the neighborhood that I wish more tourists would see especially in supporting our Dominican residents.

Places to visit:

Baker Athletic Complex

Robert K. Kraft Field/Lawrence A. Wien Stadium

533 218th Street

New York, NY  10034

 

Isham Park

Ishham Street & Seaman Avenue

New York, NY 10034

(212) 639-9674

 

Bruce Reynolds Memorial Garden

11 Park Terrace

New York, NY  10034

 

Inwood Park

From Dyckman Street to the Tip of Manhattan

Shorakkopoch Rock & the Native American Indian Caves & Indian Road Playground

Inwood Park

New York, NY  10034

 

Muscota Marsh

575 West 218th Street

New York, NY  10034

nycparks.org

 

The length of 207th Street

“Little Dominica” for shopping

 

Places to Eat:

D’ Lillian Bakery

526 207th Street

New York, NY  10034

(212) 304-0756

My review on TripAdvisor:

 

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.

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.

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. 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.

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 Park

Very tip of Manhattan from Dyckman Street to 220th Street

Don’t miss the street bazaar at 207th Street with the carts of merchandise 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

Day One: My first day of the walk and the first day of the Summer: ‘Father’s Day’-Walking Marble Hill on the tip of Manhattan June 21st, 2015.

I started the first day of walking on Father’s Day, June 21, 2015. I thought it was coincidental that the first day of Summer was Father’s Day, so it made the start of my walk even more special. I would have spent this day with my dad doing something special as we always did.

So in the spirit of the day and in memory to him, I started this project, “MywalkinManhattan” exploring the island that we both loved so much. I took the number One subway uptown to Marble Hill, a section of Manhattan that is located on mainland side of the Bronx.

Marble Hill is the northern most neighborhood in Manhattan and has a very interesting history. Marble Hill has been occupied since the Dutch controlled the area. On August 18, 1646, Governor Willem Kieft, the Dutch Director of New Netherland, signed a land grant that comprised of the whole present community. The name Marble Hill was conceived when Darius C. Crosby came up with the name in 1891 from the local deposits of dolomite marble underlying it. Dolomite marble is a soft rock that crops out in the Inwood and Marble Hill communities, known as Inwood marble. This is the marble that was used for the federal buildings in lower Manhattan when New York was the capital of the United States in the 1780’s. (Wikipedia)

After an increase in ship traffic in the 1890’s, the United States Army Corps of Engineers determined that a canal was needed for a shipping route between the Hudson and Harlem rivers. In 1895, the construction of the Harlem River Shipp Channel rendered. Marble Hill became an island bounded by the canal to the south and the original course of the Harlem River to the north. The Greater New York Chapter of 1897 designated Marble Hill as part of the Borough of Manhattan.Effective January 1, 1914, by an act of the New York State Legislature Bronx County was created but Marble Hill remained as part of New York County. Later in 1914, the old river was filled in, physically connecting Marble Hill to the Bronx and the rest of North American Mainland. (Wikipedia)

So I took the subway to the Marble Hill-225 Station and started the walk. Who knew while it had been sunny and warm the whole trip into the city from New Jersey and on the trip up that the heavens would open up once I got the subway stop and I would have to run from the subway station to the River Plaza Mall which is around the corner from the subway station. I would spend a half hour at Target looking for a good map of the island. By the time I paid for it, it cleared and was still cloudy. I have to say for an city neighborhood, Marble Hill has the best of the suburbs with many chain stores and restaurants within reach of everyone in the community. There are two malls in the neighborhood, one inside and the other right around the corner from the public housing.

Marble Hill VI.jpg

I walked Exterior Street first, which is where the Marble Hill Houses are located. Not much to report but the street could use a good weed wacking. It was so over-grown that you have to walk in the street. The housing in this area is pretty standard with a large complex of buildings with a common yard and playground with benches. Because of the weather, there weren’t many people outside or on the streets.

Once you cross Broadway, you have an array of unique turn of the last century homes mixed in with low pre-war apartment buildings. The Victorian style homes that line Jacobus Street and Fort Charles Street have true character and beautiful urban landscaping for the space the homes have for yards. There are all sorts of secret doors and terraces that you can only see from the street and there was a lot of pride in this neighborhood.

Marble Hill VII

Marble Hill Homes are quite unique

From the core of Marble Hill, you would never know that you were in the city. It is good to take time to walk these small streets, especially on a nice day to enjoy flowers and plantings from the sidewalks. Even by the Marble Hill Houses, someone joined in and planted a vegetable garden on raised beds by Broadway. By the middle of the summer, this will be filled with fruits and vegetables to the residents that planted it.

Broadway is the commercial strip on both sides of Marble Hill that continues around the corner of 225 Street by the subway station entrance. For a quick snack, bypass the traditional fast food places in the neighborhood and stop by Taveras Food Center at 5193 Broadway for their Pastelitos (a type of Cuban Pastry similar to empanada). They make them in both chicken and beef and at a $1.00 they make a nice quick meal while walking around.

empanada stand II.jpg

Fresh Pastilitos at Taveras Food Center

Walk around the corner with these treats and admire the view of the river at 225th Street or the quirky street paintings by the downtown subway entrance. Even though some people might consider this a nuisance, if you have seen the recent prices for urban art, it might be easier to pull down the wall and bring it to market. You never know when one of these ‘taggers’ may become famous.

Walking down Broadway from Taveras, stop at Rosarina Bakery at 5219 Broadway for a doughnut. Their thickly iced doughnuts are a real treat for a $1.00 and they have a nice selection of other pastries as well. There are all sorts of small businesses along Broadway that cater to the residents of Marble Hill, so take time to explore some of these shops.

Marble Hill V

Marble Hill can be walked in a few hours but take time to stroll along the winding streets of the middle of the neighborhood and admire the homes and gardens and take time to walk along the river on 225th Street before taking the subway back to where you are going. The hills and parks are very pretty as the sun goes down.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad with all the love a son could send you!

To get there: take the Number One subway to Marble Hill (you can walk the whole neighborhood in two hours)

Places to eat:

Rosarino Bakery

5219 Broadway

New York, NY  10034

(718) 367-2271

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g47369-d18147295-Reviews-Rosarino_Bakery-Bronx_New_York.html?m=19905

 

Taveras Food Center

5193 Broadway

New York, NY  10034

(718) 933-2346

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d18151210-Reviews-Taveras_Food_Center-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

Things to see:

Walk along the winding streets in the middle of the neighborhood along Jacobus, Charles Place and Adrian Avenue to see the unique architecture.

Walk along the Harlem River to see the sunset.