7.26.2012

A Hike in Morningside Heights

(updated) There are many reasons to feel lofty in Morningside Heights. The high terrain of this area in northern Manhattan affords the advantage of excellent views of the surrounding landscape and the built environment; the dramatic architecture of its churches provide a spiritual uplift; and the dominant collegiate campus in Classical style actually fulfills expectations of what an institution of higher learning should look like (as opposed to downtown NYU's lack of there-ness).

A walk that begins at the 110 subway B and C stop at the top west corner of Central Park and continues in a northwesterly direction toward Riverside Church and the General Grant National Memorial can take in most of the neighborhood's soaring architecture, sprawling parks, and the commercial life of the neighborhood's stretch of Broadway. While a lengthy walk in Morningside Heights may end up feeling more like a hike than a stroll, the excursion provides enough uplifting moments - especially for those turned on by classical styles of architecture - to make a 3-mile-walk seem much shorter.

detail, Peace Fountain, 1985,  Saint Michael struggling with Satan.
Sculpture and fountain by Greg Wyatt, sculptor-in-residence,
Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

lively grouping of saintly souls, facade of Cathedral of Saint John the Divine


The walk could be edited down to two miles, but visitors may still want to see a bit of Morningside Park, the old St. Luke's Hospital building, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, the Children's Sculpture Garden and Peace Fountain (plus any peacocks roaming around), Tom's Restaurant (from Seinfeld and Suzanne Vega song fame), at least some of the Columbia University and Barnard College campus, a promenade or two in Riverside Park, the Interchurch Center, Riverside Church, Grant's Tomb, the poignant little burial site known as the Amiable Child Monument (details with photo in the slideshow), Sakura Park, the Manhattan School of Music, Seminary Row, and the Church of Corpus Christi (important for fans of Thomas Merton; it's where he converted to Catholicism).

Visit these places in that order, too, by following along with the map. There are many beautiful apartment buildings in Morningside Heights, especially the block of W. 113th between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, and the Renaissance Revival-style Eton and Rugby Hall Apartments on Claremont Avenue.

The Scholar's Lion at Columbia University, also by sculptor Greg Wyatt, an alumnus.

Looking west from Columbia University campus.
Barnard College buildings in middle distance.
Apartments in far distance are the Eton and Rugby Hall Apartments, 29-35 Claremont Avenue,
between W. 116th and W. 119th. Built in 1910 in Renaissance Revival style.

The photographs below will illustrate the highlights of the walk.



The map below includes most of the places mentioned in this post.

 
View A Hike in Morningside Heights in a larger map

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from July 24, 2012.

1 comment:

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

On our most recent visit to New York, we made it to General Grant National Memorial--or Grant's Tomb, as we've always called it. What a wonderfully moving experience, beginning with "Let There Be Peace" engraved over the entrance. Its interior layout reminded us of Napoleon's tomb in Paris. We also got to see a little of the Columbia University campus, although we were there on the day of commencement ceremonies and a lot was closed off. Now we're totally ready to explore that neighborhood some more. Thanks for the virtual tour, Teri!