Friday, December 30, 2011


Inwood Hill Park, at the northern most tip of Manhattan, contains the last remaining primordial forest on the urban island.  The park was opened in 1926 and the natural forest was mostly left untouched by landscapers.  Because of this, as you walk around the park, deep into its vine-covered trails, you almost feel as if you are in upstate New York, far from the city.  It is high in elevation and you must navigate many hills to get there.  The forest sits upon its glacier-scoured rocks, bound by the Hudson river to the West and Spuyten Duyvil Creek to the North.

I rode my bike there last summer, with my digital camera and 35mm Canon in tow.  It was a perfect day and I was mesmerized by how disconnected I felt from the city almost the moment I set foot in the park.  The hilly paths are so steep you lose your breath in some places.  One can get lost in the trails and I remember how amazing the Hudson river looked from lofty perches of the park.  Along the paths are many different types of trees, and some of them twist into grotesque shapes like something out of Grimm's fairy tales.  A truly magical place I wish to see again.

Eventually the elevation dips steeply downward as you reach the northernmost tip of the island.  Below lies Spuyten Duyvil (dutch for Devil's Spout), the channel connecting the Harlem to the Hudson river, and above towers the Henry Hudson Bridge.  This is a beautiful bridge with a single fixed arch, an imposing structure breaking up the otherwise peaceful surroundings of the park.

Near the end of the park I reached the lowlands, that had been partially flooded by tropical storm Irene and saw the famous painted "C" for Columbia University.  This was painted in 1952 by the university's crew team, of which my dad was a member in the '60's.  I lay on a bench in the sun with some friends I had just met up with and together we started our long journey home, biking down the east side of Manhattan.  It was a good day. 


Anonymous said...

Nice photos!!
Vijay Shinde

Victoria - Ozarks Crescent Mural said...