Tag: NYC Parks

Shorakkopoch Rock Inwood Hill Park New York, NY

Shorakkopoch Rock Inwood Hill Park New York, NY

Shorakkopoch Rock

Located in Inwood Hill Park and part of the NYC Parks System. The rock was dedicated on February 2, 1954 by the Peter Minuet Post #1247, American Legion.

I came across the Shorakkopoch Rock, the noted spot that Peter Minuet has been said to have bought the island of Manhattan from the Indians. No one is too sure where the spot of the ‘transaction’ took place as some feel it may have been closer to downtown by the Bowling Green, where the original Dutch settlement was located or maybe he travelled to them, we will never know. What we do know is that he said the transaction took place under a tulip tree and in this spot used to be a tulip tree that was over 220 years old before it died.

The rock reads:

Shorakkopoch: According to legend, on this site of the rock, principal Manhattan Indian Village, Peter Minuet in 1626, purchased Manhattan Island for trinkets and beads them worth about 60 guilders. This boulder also marks the spot where a tulip tree (Liriodendron Tulipifera)  grew to a height of 165 feet and a girth of 20 feet. It was until its death in 1932 at the age of 220 years old, the oldest living link with the Reckgawawang Indians, who lived here. Dedicated as part of New York City’s 300th Anniversary celebration by the Peter Minuet Post 1247 American Legion 1954.

For more information on the rock, please contact the Art & Antiquities  at (212) 360-8143.

Disclaimer: This information was taken form the NYC Parks Department website.

Please take time out when visiting Manhattan to see this important piece of the city’s history as the city itself was founded on this very site.

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Muscota Marsh West 218th Street and Indian Road New York, NY

Muscota Marsh West 218th Street and Indian Road New York, NY

Muscota Marsh

West 218th Street & Indian Road

New York, NY

Inwood Section of Manhattan.

I came across the Muscota Marsh when I was walking the neighborhood of Inwood in 2015 and thought that this is a great site that tourists should see on top of a visit to Inwood Park and the Shorakkopoch Rock where Peter Minuet bought Manhattan from the Indians.

The Muscota Marsh is a one acre public park in the Inwood section of the borough of Manhattan in New York City, on the shore of Spuyten Duyvil Creek, a section of the Harlem River. It is adjacent to the much larger Inwood Hill Park and Columbia University’s Baker Athletics Complex. The park is notable for its views and for its ecological conservation features.

Muscota Marsh is unusual for having both a freshwater marsh and a salt marsh in such a tiny area. Besides attracting plant and animal life, these wetlands are intended to help filter rainwater runoff and thereby improve the water quality of the river. Other facilities include a dock for kayaks and canoes, benches and walking paths. A wooden deck overlooking the river provides views of Inwood Hill Park, the Henry Hudson Bridge and the New Jersey Palisades.

As this public green space, with a design inspired by tidal flats and mud ways, you can enjoy the educational richness of the marsh from the wildlife observation deck or venture out on to a wooden deck stretching out to the waterway through the native water gardens.

Because of the close proximity of the salt marsh and the freshwater wetlands, you’ll be able to spot beautiful wading birds like the great blue heron and the snowy egret. You can also see leopard frogs and ribbed among the dramatic colors and textures of the marsh’s native plants.

Opened to the public in January 2014, the park was constructed by Columbia University as part of a deal to construct the new Campbell Sports Center within its adjacent athletics complex. It was designed by James Corner Field Operations, which is best known for its work on Manhattan’s High Line. It is cooperatively administered by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and Columbia, with the university providing maintenance and security.

The park is open all year round and is free to enter. It is right next to the Columbia Stadium. Check out the big ‘C’ on the cliffs opposite of the river.

Disclaimer: This information was taken from the NYC Parks information guide and Wikipedia. Please check this small pocket park out for its beauty and for its importance in the environment.

Central Park Conservatory Garden Located between 104th and 106th Streets by Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10029

Central Park Conservatory Garden Located between 104th and 106th Streets by Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10029

The Central Park Conservatory Garden

Located between 104th and 106th Streets off Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10029

Hours: Depends on the season and the Dawn to Dusk rule

Fee: Free

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d272517-Reviews-Conservatory_Garden-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

The Central Park Conservatory Garden is the only formal garden in Central Park, New York City and is located approximately between 104th and 106th Street on Fifth Avenue in NYC. The Garden consists of about six acres of formal landscaping of trees, shrubs and flowers. The formal garden is divided into three smaller gardens each with a distinct style: Italian, French and English. The Central Conservatory Garden is an officially designated Quiet Zone and offers a calm and colorful setting for a leisurely stroll and intimate wedding.

It takes its name from a conservatory that stood  on the site from 1898 to 1934. The park’s head gardener used the glasshouses to harden hardwood cuttings for the park’s plantings. After the conservatory was torn down, the garden was designed by Gilmore D. Clarke, landscape architect for Robert Moses, with planting plans by M. Betty Sprout and constructed and planted by WPA workers, it was opened to the public in 1937.

The Garden is composed of three distinct parts, skillfully restored since the 1980’s and is accessible through the Vanderbilt Gate at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street, a quarter south of the park’s northeast corner. The Vanderbilt Gate once gave access to the forecourt of Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s chateau designed by George Browne Post, the grandest of the Fifth Avenue mansions of the Gilded Age, at 58th Street and Fifth Avenue, sharing the Plaza with Plaza Hotel. The wrought iron gates with cast iron and repousse details, were designed by Post and executed in an iron foundry in Paris.

Below the steps flanked by Cornelian cherry, the central section of the Conservatory Garden is a symmetrical lawn outlined in clipped yew, with a single central fountain jet at the rear. It is flanked by twin allees of crabapples and backed by a curved wisteria pergola against the steep natural slope, that is dominated at its skyline by a giant American Sycamore. Otherwise there is no flower color; instead on any fine Saturday afternoon in June, it is a scene of photography sessions for colorful wedding parties for which limousines pull up in rows on Fifth Avenue.

To the left of the south side is the garden of mixed herbaceous borders in wide concentric bands around The Secret Garden water lily pool, dedicated in 1936 to the memory of Frances Hodgson Burnett with sculpture by Bessie Potter Vonnoh. Some large shrubs , like tree lilac, magnolias, buddleias and Cornus alba ‘elegantissima’ provide vertical structure and offer light shade to offset the sunny locations, planted by Lynden Miller with a wide range of hardy perennials and decorative grasses, intermixed with annuals planted to seem naturalized. This  garden has seasonal features to draw visitors from April through October.

To the right of the central formal plat is a garden also in concentric circles, round the Untermyer Fountain, which was donated by the family of Samuel Untermyer in 1947. The bronze figures, Three Dancing Maidens by Walter Schott (1861-1938) were executed in Germany about 1910 and formed a fountain at Utermyer’s estate “Greystone” in Yonkers, New York.

This section of the Conservatory Garden has two dramatic seasons of massed display of tulips in the spring and Korean chrysanthemums in the fall. Beds of satolina clipped in knotted designs with contrasting bronze-leaved bedding begonias surround the fountain and four rose arbor gates are planted with reblooming ‘Silver Moon’ and ‘Betty Prior’ roses.

After the Second World War the garden had become neglected and by the 1970’s became a wasteland. It was restored and partially replanted under the direction of horticulturist and urban landscape designer Lyden Miller to reopen in June 1987. The overgrown, top-heavy crabapples were freed of watershoots and pruned up to a higher scaffold for better form. The high-style mixed planting was the first to bring estate garden style to urban parks, part of the general of Central Park under Elizabeth Barlow Rogers of the Central Park Conservancy.

(This information directly from Wikipedia and has many sources)

Hours of Operation:

November-February (8:00am-5:00pm)

March  (8:00am-6:00pm)

April  (8:00am-7:00pm)

May  (August 14th 8:00am-8:00pm)

August 15-31 (8:00am-7:30pm)

September (8:00am-7:30pm)

http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/#what_lawns-and-landscapes

Dyckman Farmhouse Museum 4881 Broadway at 204th Street New York, New York 10034

Dyckman Farmhouse Museum 4881 Broadway at 204th Street New York, New York 10034

Dyckman Farmhouse

4881 Broadway at 204th Street

New York, NY  10034

(212) 304-9422

info@dyckmanfarmohouse.org

Open: Friday & Saturday-11:00am-4:00pm/Closed Sunday-Thursday

TripAdvisor Review:

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

 

I visited the Dyckman Farmhouse on day during my walk around the Inwood section of Manhattan and came upon this old farmhouse in the middle of the commercial district by Columbia University’s football field. You have to take the A or the 1 Subway uptown to get there but it is one of the last vestiges of the farming community that once was Manhattan in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. It has been there since the family donated it to the city in 1916. It should not be missed when visiting Manhattan. I wrote more about my trip there in “MywalkinManhattan” blog site.

The Dyckman Farmhouse

4881 Broadway at 204th Street

New York, NY  10034

(212) 304-9422

dyckmanfarmhouse.org

Hours:

Winter Schedule: November-April Friday and Saturday 11:00am-4:00pm

Monday-Thursday Groups by Appointment Only

The Dyckman House, now the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum in the oldest remaining farmhouse on Manhattan island, a remainder of New York City’s rural past. The Dutch Colonial-style farmhouse was built by William Dyckman in 1785. It was originally part of over 250 acres of farmland owned by the family. It was once the center of a thriving farm with fields and orchards of cherry, pear and apple trees. It is now located in a small park at the corner of Broadway and 204th Street in the Inwood section neighborhood of the city.

History and Description

William Dyckman was the grandson of Jan Dyckman, who came to the area from Westphalia in 1661. Jan Dyckman, a shoemaker and another Dutch settler, Jan Nagel purchased much of the land between present 155th Street and the northern tip of the island. Members of the Dyckman and Nagel families lived on the land for three generations until the Revolutionary War broke out.

During the Revolutionary War, the British occupation of Manhattan in 1776-83, the Dyckman’s, like many other patriots, fled the city and did not return until the British had been defeated. When the war ended and the Dyckman’s found their home and orchards had been destroyed, they built a new house on the Kingsbridge Road, now Broadway. They chose this location on a major thoroughfare in order to supplement their income by providing accommodations for travelers on their way to and from Manhattan.

William Dyckman, who inherited the family estate built the current house to replace the family house located on the Harlem River near the present West 210th Street, which he had build in 1748 and which was destroyed in the American Revolutionary War.

The current two-story house is constructed of fieldstone, brick and white clapboard and features a gambrel roof and spring eaves. The porches typical of the Dutch Colonial style but were added in 1825. The house interior has parlors and an indoor (winter) kitchen, with floors of varying-width chestnut wood. The house outdoor smokehouse kitchen, in a small building to the south, may predate the house itself.

The house stayed in the family for several generations until it was sold in 1868, after which it served as a rental property for several decades. By the beginning of the 20th century, the house was in disrepair and in danger of being demolished. Two sisters of the original family and daughters of the last Dyckman child to grow up in the house, Mary Alice Dyckman Dean and Fannie Fredericka Dyckman Welch, began restoration of the farmhouse in 1915-16 under the supervision of architect Alexander M. Welch, the husband of Fannie. They then transferred the ownership of the house to the City of New York in 1916, which opened it as a museum of Dutch and Colonial life, featuring original Dyckman family furnishings.

The farmhouse, which is not only the oldest remaining in Manhattan, but the only one in the Dutch Colonial style and the only 18th century farmhouse in the borough as well. It has New York City Landmark and a National Historic Landmark status since 1967. A major restoration of the house took place in 2003, after which it reopened to the public in the fall of 2005.

*Disclaimer: This information comes from the Historic House Trust and Wikipedia and the NYC Parks System. The site is free to visit and takes less than an hour to visit. During the summer months, it is nice to visit the gardens and property. It is a interesting property to visit and when you are through with your tour, there are many nice Spanish restaurants in the area on Broadway and along 207th Avenue corridor. It is a nice place to walk around and explore.

 

 

 

The Cloisters Museum & Gardens: The Branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to Medieval Art 99 Margaret Corbin Drive Fort Tryon New York, NY 10040

The Cloisters Museum & Gardens: The Branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to Medieval Art 99 Margaret Corbin Drive Fort Tryon New York, NY 10040

The Cloisters Museum & Gardens: A Branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

99 Margaret Corbin Drive

Fort Tryon Park

New York, NY  10040

(212) 923-3700

Open: March-October 10:00am-5:15pm/November-February-10:00am-4:45pm

http://www.metmuseum.org

TripAdvisor Review:

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

I go to The Cloisters on a pretty regular basis and they have interesting walking tours and lectures especially in the warm months. If you like Medieval or religious art, this is a museum that is worth visiting. It is out of the way and be prepared to walk up a hill but in the summer months, the view of the Hudson River is spectacular and the gardens are beautiful. There is a nice café on property but there is also a nice outdoor café in the park as well as a small restaurant row on Dyckman Avenue at the foot of the park right near the subway stop. There are also many terrific Spanish restaurants on Dyckman Street as you walk down the block towards Fort George Hill.

Welcome to The Cloisters, the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. Set on a hilltop with commanding views of the Hudson River. The Cloisters is designed in a style evocative of medieval architecture specifically for the display of masterpiece created during that era. Arranged roughly chronologically and featuring works primarily from Western Europe, the collection includes sculpture, stained glass, tapestries, painting, manuscript illumination and metalwork. The extensive gardens feature medieval plantings, enhancing the evocative environment.

History of the Museum

John D. Rockefeller Jr. generously provided for the building, the setting in Fort Tryon Park and the acquisition of the notable George Grey Barnard Collection, the nucleus of The Cloisters collection. Barnard Collection, the nucleus of The Cloisters collection. Barnard, an American sculptor whose work can be seen in the American Wing of the Metropolitan, traveled extensively in France, where he purchased medieval sculpture and architectural elements often from descendants of citizens who had appropriated objects abandoned during the French Revolution. The architect Charles Collens incorporated these medieval elements into the fabric of The Cloisters, which opened to the public in 1938.

Romanesque Hall

Imposing stone portals from French churches of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries open onto a gallery that features rare Spanish frescoes and French sculpture.

Fuentiduena Chapel

The twelfth-century apse from the church of San Martin at Fuentiduena, Spain and the great contemporary fresco of Christ in Majesty from a church in the Pyrenees Mountains dominate the space. Sculpture from Italy and Spain enriches the chapel, which is the setting for a celebrated concert series.

Saint-Guilhem Cloister

The fine carving of this cloister from the monastery of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert, near Montpellier, harmoniously and playfully adapts the forms of Roman sculpture in a medieval context. The plants depicted in the sculpture, acanthus and palm, are growing in pots near the small fountain. The gallery also features early sculpture from Italy, Islamic Spain and elsewhere in France.

Langon Chapel

Architectural elements from the twelfth-century church of Notre-Dame-du-Bourg at Langon near Bordeaux form the setting for the display of thirteenth-century French stained glass and important Burgundian sculpture in wood and stone.

Pontaut Chapter House

Monks from the Cistercian abbey at Potaut in Aquitaine once gathered for daily meetings in this twelfth-century enclosure known as a chapter house. At the time of its purchase in the 1930’s by a Parisian dealer, the column supports were being used to tether farm animals.

Cuxa Cloister and Garden

The distinctive pink stone of this cloister, featuring capitals carved with wild and fanciful creatures, was quarried in the twelfth century near Canigou in the Pyrenees Mountains for the nearby Benedictine monastery of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa. The typical cloister garden features crossed paths and a central fountain from the neighboring monastery of Saint-Genis-des-Fountaines. Both medieval and modern species of plants are grown in the garden. In winter, the arcades are enclosed and fragrant potted plants fill the walkways.

Early Gothic Hall

With thirteenth-century windows overlooking the Hudson River, the gallery features stained glass from France’s great churches, including Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris. Sculptures and paintings from France, Italy and Spain evoke the great age of cathedrals.

Nine Heroes Tapestries Room

From an original series of nine hangings created about 1400 for a member of the Valois court, the tapestries portray fabled heroes of ancient, Hebrew and Christian history, including the legendary King Arthur. It is among the earliest sets of surviving medieval tapestries.

Unicorn Tapestries Room

With brilliant colors, beautiful landscapes and precise depictions of flora and fauna, these renowned tapestries depicting the hunt and capture of the mythical unicorn are among the most studied and beloved objects at The Cloisters. Probably designed in Paris and woven in Brussels about 1500 for an unknown patron, these hangings blend the secular and sacred worlds of the Middle Ages.

Boppard Room

Stained glass from the fifteenth-century Camelite convent at Boppard-am-Rhein dominates one end of the room. Fifteenth-century panel paintings and sculpture from the Rhineland and northern Spain, a brass lectern, domestic furniture, Spanish lusterware, tapestries, metalwork and sculpture further evoke a sacred space.

Merode Room

One of the most celebrated early Netherlandish paintings in the world, the Merode Altarpiece, painted in Tournai about 1425-30, forms the centerpiece of this gallery. The altarpiece, intended for the private prayers of its owners, represents the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary taking place in a fifteenth-century household. Details of the scene are echoed in the late medieval furnishings of the room in which other works made for private devotion are also exhibited.

Late Gothic Hall

Large fifteenth-century limestone windows from the refectory of the former Dominican monastery in Sens, France, illuminate the hall, which showcases sculpture and altarpieces from Germany, Italy and Spain as well as a great tapestry from Burgos Cathedral.

Gothic Chapel

Beneath richly colored stained-glass windows from fourteenth-century Austria carved images from royal and noble tombs of France and Spain fill the chapel-like setting.

Glass Gallery

Silver-stained glass roundels decorate the windows of the Glass Gallery, complementing small works of art, many made for secular use, with their lively, sometimes worldly subjects. Carved woodwork from a house in Abbeville, in northern France, forms a backdrop for paintings and sculpture.

“Bonnefont” Cloister and Garden

Long thought to be part of the abbey at Bonnefont-en-Comminges, the elements of this cloister come instead from other monasteries in the region including a destroyed monastery in Tarbes. The herb garden contains more than 250 species cultivated in the Middle Ages. Its raised beds, wattle fences and central wellhead are characteristic of a medieval monastic garden.

Trie Cloister and Garden

The stone cloister elements were created primarily for the Carmelite convert at Trie-sur-Baise in the Pyrenees. The garden is planted with medieval species to evoke the millefleurs background of medieval tapestries, such as the Unicorn series.

Treasury

An array of precious objects in gold, silver, ivory and silk reflects the wealth of medieval churches. Illuminated manuscripts testify to the piety and taste of royal patrons such as Jeanne d’Evreux, Queen of France; jewelry and a complete set of fifteenth-century playing cards suggest more worldly pastimes.

Museum Hours:

Hours: Open 7 days a week

March-October 10:00am-5:15pm

November-February 10:00am- 4:45pm

Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25th and January 1st.

*Some galleries may be closed for construction or maintenance.

*Disclaimer: This information is taken right from the Cloisters pamphlet from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Please call the museum before visiting to see if anything has changed with the hours or days open. It is well worth the trip uptown to visit The Cloisters.

 

 

 

The Amiable Child Memorial 554 Riverside Drive at West 124th Street, New York, NY 10027

The Amiable Child Memorial 554 Riverside Drive at West 124th Street, New York, NY 10027

The Amiable Child Memorial

554 Riverside Drive at West 124th Street

New York, NY 10027

Open: 6:00am-1:00am

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/riversidepark/monuments/1206

I stumbled across the Amiable Child Memorial over the summer when I was walking Riverside Drive for “MywalkinManhattan” project (see walking 155th Street) and came across this small memorial when I was passing Grant’s Tomb. It is off to the side on the path by the woods. It is a small monument and very humbling in its look. It is a small urn on a pedestal marking a grave of a small child surrounded by a fence. I got the following information from the NYC Parks Department website when I wanted to know more about the site:

This unique New York City monument marks the site of one of the few private graves on public land within the five boroughs. It belongs to St. Claire Pollock (the namesake of nearby St. Claire Place), a child who died on July 15, 1797 in the fifth year of his life, probably from a fall from the cliffs of the parkland onto the rocks near the Hudson River.

In the two centuries that have passed since the tragedy of the “Amiable Child” as he was described on his headstone-different accounts of St. Claire origins and family have persisted. George Pollock, the owner of the property on which the boy was buried, was either his father or his uncle. He was a linen merchant of Scots-Irish or possibly English descent, who lived in a mansion on Strawberry Hill (later called Claremont) in the 1790’s. He  had sold his property to Mrs. Cornelia Verplanck, his former neighbor, by January 18, 1800 when he wrote as follows:

“There is a small enclosure near your boundary fence within which lie the remains of a favorite child, covered by a marble monument. You will confer a peculiar and interesting favor upon me by allowing me to convey the enclosure to you so that you will consider its part of your own estate, keeping it however always enclosed and sacred.”

Claremont Hill was the site of the Battle of Harlem Heights, fought during the Revolutionary War on September 16, 1776. By 1806, it had been acquired by Michael Hogan, a former British Consul in Havana, who built Claremont Mansion (for which Claremont Avenue was named). Possible sources for the name are Hogan’s birthplace of County Clare, Ireland and his friend Prince William, Duke of Clarence, who would ascend the English throne as King William IV in 1830. Known as the site of a popular roadside inn by 1860, Claremont was acquired by the City from the heirs of Joel Post in 1873 for the development of Riverside Park.

In the 1890’s, Claremont Inn was host to numerous politicians, socialites and entertainers including the Morgan’s, Vanderbilt’s and Whitney’s, Lillian Russell and Admiral George Dewey. By 1907, the Inn had been transformed into a restaurant, serving the likes of Cole Porter and James J. Walker. It was destroyed by fire in 1950. The playground which now stands on the site was built shortly afterwards.

A century after the Tomb of the Amiable Child was laid, New York’s most famous monumental grave-Grant’s Tomb-was completed. The domed structure across Riverside Drive, designed by architect John Duncan and sculptor John Massey Rhind, was dedicated on April 27, 1897. The later structure is as grand a testimony to the accomplishments of national leader as the monument to the amiable child is a modest and touching tribute to a young boy who never had the opportunity to grow into adulthood. This monument was dedicated on May 3, 1967 (www.nycgovparks.org/parks/riverside-park/mounments/1206).

*You really have to look off the beaten path to see this unique little memorial but it is very touching and soulful. Take the time when visiting the neighborhood to visit this very touching site. You will find it by the path behind Grant’s Tomb.

Look for more sculptures  by looking at the Parks website http://www.nycgovparks.org.

Fort Washington Park: The Little Red Lighthouse 178th Street by the George Washington Bridge New York, NY 10033

Fort Washington Park: The Little Red Lighthouse 178th Street by the George Washington Bridge New York, NY 10033

The Little Red Lighthouse: Fort Washington Park

178th Street under the George Washington Bridge

New York, NY  10033

TripAdvisor Review:

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

 

*I came across the Little Red Lighthouse when I was touring Fort Washington Park one afternoon on the walk and did not realize how famous this landmark was in literature. It was part of the book, “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge”. It is a small landmark but on a nice day it offers great views of the river and the surrounding park.

The Little Red Lighthouse & Fort Washington Park (Text is part of the Historical Signs Project).

The Little Red Lighthouse stopped being used as a functional lighthouse long ago but over the years this 40-foot-high structure has become a beacon of another kind. 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 and serves as a quaint reminder of the area’s history.

Long ago, Native Americans known locally as the Wiechquaesgeck-part of the Lenape tribe-inhabited much of upper Manhattan and eastern New Jersey. The Wiechquaesgeck and later the Dutch and English colonists, fished and hunted along the banks of the Hudson River. The Hudson was also an important route for travel, connecting upstate cities such as Albany to New York City and the Atlantic Ocean. As traffic increased along the river, so did the number of shipwrecks at Jeffery’s Hook. In an attempt to reduce the accidents, a red pole was placed at Jeffrey’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.

In the early 20th Century, barge captains carrying goods up and down the Hudson demanded a brighter beacon. The Little Red Lighthouse had been erected at Sandy Hooks, New Jersey in 1880 where it used a 1,000 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 Jeffrey’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, then known as Jeffery’s Hook 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. In 1948, the Coast Guard decommissioned the lighthouse and its lamp was extinguished.

The Coast Guard planned to auction off the lighthouse but an outpouring of support fro 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 a great bridge is built 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.  The classic tale captured the imaginations of children and adults, many of whom wrote letters and sent money to help save the icon from the auction block.

On July 23, 1951, the Coast Guard gave the property to Parks and on May 29, 1979, the Little Red Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historical Places. It did not receive much attention over the years until City Comptroller Harrison J. Goldin worked with Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern to find funding for its restoration. In 1986, Parks hosted a party in honor of the lighthouse’s 65 anniversary and to celebrate a $209,000 renovation of the lighthouse that included reconstruction of the concrete foundation and the installation of new steel doors. In the year 2000, the lighthouse received a fresh coast of red paint that is true to its original, historic color along with new interior lighting and electric lines. Today the Little Red Lighthouse remains a stalwart symbol of the area’s heritage, lighting the way into the city’s past.

The Little Red Lighthouse is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and is a member  of the Historic House Trust of New York City.

*This information comes off the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation website. I would advise because of the isolated location of the lighthouse in the park to visit at daylight hours.