A Walk Through Inwood Park

Published August 28, 2012 by Sandee

Crap quality pictures, but you get the gist.

When the rain stopped yesterday, I walked to Inwood Park.  It’s on the northernmost tip of Manhattan at the border of the Hudson.  With my air conditioner off and windows open, I heard cars racing, horns beeping, and groups of people talking.  I had to get out.  My walk was for mental health.

It was breezy and not hot, and occasionally overcast, which made the greenery in the park stand out.  The views include cliffs that border the river.  On Halloween, Haunted Inwood takes place in the forest.  Actors in costume lead you through the woods for ghostly tales.  There are caves up there with streams of trickling water.  The hike is complete with fog machines, graveyards and monsters peering from behind trees. The organization turns the nature center into a haunted house.

I sat on a bench, looking across the river.  Not far from there is a view of a huge rock in The Bronx.  In 1952 a Columbia University student began painting a large C on that rock.  The job was finished by members of Columbia’s row team later.  Columbia’s row team docks their boats at their row house near Inwood Park.  The C rock is part of the legend of this area.  Boys climb up the hill to the top of that rock and dive into the river over and over.  Once I sat for a while and watched them from across the river.

After sitting in that one area, I walked around the bend to a large Chinese cherry tree with drooping branches enveloping a small bench like a curtain.  It was perfect to keep the sun out so I sat for a while watching geese in the river a few feet away.  Though the bench was perfect for lovers, that idea was an intrusion on my meditation.  In the park you don’t hear city noises, only an occasional plane or the horn of the Metro North Train going through the Marble Hill Station.

I took the long way out, at the border of the cliffs around the soccer field.  A group of troopers waved as they passed in a car on the way to the hills.  I took a tour once with one of the troopers.  I walked this way to look at the inscription on the rock marking the beginning of three different paths into the woods.  The plaque says it’s where Peter Minuit bought Manhattan from Native Americans for trinkets and beads worth 60 guilders.  This area was also an encampment for Hessian Soldiers during the revolutionary war.

I continued out along the edge of the soccer field, watching a man clean up after his dog on the litter free path.  I had faith that he would.  Minutes after I got home, it rained.


40 comments on “A Walk Through Inwood Park

  • This was so great, Sandee. Nice escape. The thing I loved most about living in New York is the rich history. It’s easy to imagine that land raw and alive with Native Americans. I think New York has a beautiful, old, and sometimes sad vibe. My ancestors were there as early as the 1500s which freaks me out. I used to pass a cemetery everyday on my way to school. I had no idea until recently that tons of my peeps were buried there.

    • As early as the 1500s?! Wow. That is really special, particularly that you have relatives laid to rest here. I get that sometimes sad vibe. There’s so much money here so it can be fierce and brutal. The energy is very dynamic. I’m getting too old for this though. A small shack in the woods would do. 🙂

      • That’s how I feel, too. New York’s vibe is, like you said, fierce and brutal. I’ve lived in the midwest for a long time now. When I visit NY I get heart palpitations and that adrenaline surge kicks in. Something tells me that living there would be a little taxing to the spirit.
        One day soon, hopefully, you’ll make your break and head to that shack in the woods.
        Have a beautiful day!

      • Thanks Grippy! I hope you enjoy your day too. Some people like all this ruckus — I don’t like it. It’s making me jumpy. And my neighborhood is considered pretty nice as far as city standards go. I have a friend who lives ON 34th Street in Manhattan — now that’s CRAZY.

  • Minuit got the core of the Big A for $72 in today’s money. (Lest you think the price of beads has increased remarkably slowly in the last 350 years, you should know that the $24 calculation was made in the 19th century.)
    There are some who would contend that $72 or even $24 for Manhattan was not such a hot bargain. These people are mostly Republicans. But let’s do a few calculations. According to the New York Public Library, the assessed value of taxable real estate in Manhattan for 1990-91 was $47 billion. Assuming the land alone accounts for 25 percent of this, land values have appreciated from a half cent per acre in 1626 to $827,000 per acre today, an increase of roughly 17 billion percent. Not bad, you are surely thinking, even by the stringent standards of the GOP…
    Actually Minuit bought Manhattan to the wrong tribe, the Carnesie, who lived in Long Island …

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