More Green Places in NYC

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You all know that my daughter lives in New York City (the Bronx ), and hopefully you’ve all read my post about Van Cortlandt Park.  Well, the last time I went to visit, we found a smaller, but even more amazing park in northern Manhattan, called Fort Tryon Park.

The park is located at the northern tip of Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River, with views of the George Washington Bridge.  It was the site of a Revolutionary War battle, and later, many wealthy New Yorkers built mansions in the area.

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In 1917, John D. Rockefeller bought one of these mansions, and decided to transform the property into a park.  He also purchased land on the New Jersey side of the river, to preserve the views of the Palisades.  Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (the grandson of one of the creators of Central Park) spent four years transforming the rough landscape into a park full of walls, paths, staircases, and gardens, with beautiful views of the river.

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In the middle of the park, there is an awesome museum called The Cloisters.  It’s a branch of the Metropolitan Museum, and houses a collection of Medieval art.  The museum looks like a huge old church. and has many cloister-type gardens and courtyards.

 

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The museum is home to treasures from many old European churches, including stained glass, doors, fountains, and art.  Here is just a small sample.  There is also a famous collection of Unicorn Tapestries at the cloisters.  Personally, I thought they were pretty creepy, and didn’t even take pictures of them.

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So, if you find yourself in New York City, and need some green space along with your culture and sightseeing, check out Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters.  Get outside (and a bit of inside, too)!

 

A chunk of green and dirt in the middle of NYC!

A few months ago, my daughter moved to New York City, the Bronx to be exact.  I spent a week helping her move, and have been to visit a few more times since.  There are some things I really love about NYC.  (#1 of course, is that my kid lives there!)  Parts of the city are very walkable.  From her home, we walked to the Bronx Zoo, and to the registry.  It’s only about 1.5 miles to Target.  Although that seemed a lot longer in the pouring rain, dragging one of those old lady shopping trolleys.  There are a bunch of grocery stores within a few blocks, and we found a nice little hardware store.

And the public transportation…how I love public transportation!   There is nothing better than chatting, or reading a book while somebody else gets you where you need to go.   Instead of driving for 4 hours, I only have to drive about 1 hour to Connecticut, and then there is commuter rail to within 1 mile of her home.  Uphill walk from the station, but all downhill at the end of my stay.  We have taken the subway to Coney Island, and the New York Aquarium (wonderful sea lion show there!).  We have taken it to the Staten Island Ferry.  And that is a free (Yes, Free!) ferry ride to Staten Island with a beautiful view of the Statue of Liberty.

There is a downside though (isn’t there always?)  Not enough woods. I admit to being spoiled.  My woods at Hodges are only about 1/2 mile up the hill, and once there I have access to 1200 acres of dirt and trees.  Well, turns out there are almost as many woods in the Bronx as at the dam.  According to Wikipedia “Van Cortlandt Park is a 1,146-acre park located in the borough of the Bronx in New York City. It is the third largest park in New York City, behind Pelham Bay Park and Staten Island Greenbelt.”  To give you an idea of the size, check this out

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Last time I visited, we spent Saturday going to the ferry, and then walking all over Manhattan.  Sunday we decided to relax and take a walk in the park…turned out to be a pretty long walk.  There are two golf courses in the park (just 1 golf course is awfully big).  There are playing fields, and lots of smooth flat trails.  There were a lot of people biking, made me miss my bike.  It’s possible to take a bike on the train, but I’m trying to decide if it’s worth the hassle.  We sat by a lake and watched some swans.

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One of the things I most enjoy about being in the woods, is finding weird stuff.  I’m not a fast biker, or runner, and there is always time to step off the trail and take pictures of stuff that doesn’t seem to belong.  Well, we found these things in the middle of the woods, along a small trail connecting two larger ones.  What are they?  Giants’ grave markers?

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Evidently, finding weird stuff, leads to more odd stuff happening.  I posted this picture on Instagram, and got a response from somebody at “Friends of Van Cortlandt Park”.  They said that these are called Grand Central Stones.  When the city was building Grand Central Station, these were put up as test stones to see which would weather the best.  However, the winner was limestone, because it was the cheapest. No idea which one weathered the best.  Grand Central station (which has a huge Apple store:) ) seems really old to me, but the park is so much older.  If you visit the Bronx, check out the Friends of Van Cortland Park here.

So, I guess if you look hard enough, there is dirt to be found almost everywhere.  I challenge you to find some, and get out and play in it!