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A Winter Walk in Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters

Fort Tryon Park in Northern Manhattan has one of the most beautiful and dramatic promenades in New York, and walking there is particularly enchanting and picturesque after a snowfall. Yes, Central Park makes a beautiful backdrop for a snowy day in the city, but Fort Tryon Park offers the extra advantages of elevated vistas and long views of the Hudson River and The Palisades. The walk from Margaret Corbin Circle, named after the first woman to fight in the American Revolutionary War, north to The Cloisters, the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to medieval art and architecture, is just a little over half a mile.

Fort Tryon Park Cottage

Climbing up Fort Tryon can make you feel like a kid again, but on snowy days with slippery surfaces, the subway and the bus may be the best ways to get there. Take the A train to 190 Street and then the elevator up to the park. From there, the walk should be mostly flat, with just a few steps here and there. Before heading north, take time to inspect Fort Tryon Park Cottage (above) just inside the entrance at Margaret Corbin Circle.

The cottage is a remnant of tycoon C.K.G. Billings's once lofty Hudson River estate, an ostentatious 1907 mansion with turrets, bowling alleys, stables, and a yacht landing. The arched loggia and terrace, originally designed as part of the estate entrance, not only remains but also serves as a breathtaking point of interest in the park.

The Heather Garden under deep snow, with views of the Hudson River and The Palisades.

Stan Michels Promenade. The promenade is named for lawyer Stanley E. Michels, a Washington Heights politician and City Council member from 1978 to 2001. Note how well the path is groomed.

bench, Linden Terrace, with views of the Hudson River and The Palisades of New Jersey

massive stone wall and path leading to the Cloisters Lawn

view of The Cloisters in the distance

The walk ends at The Cloisters. One of the advantages of visiting The Cloisters after a big snowfall is the likelihood that crowds may be thinner than usual, especially on a weekday. On the day shown here, I had the Unicorn Tapestries all to myself. The Cuxa Cloister was still and silent, like a quiet day in a Benedictine monastery, circa 1130.

Cuxa Cloister, The Cloisters

Exterior, The Cloisters, near sunset

After visiting The Cloisters, either walk back south toward the entrance or hop on the M4 bus back to the subway.

Beyond the deep snow is the New Leaf Restaurant.

The New Leaf Restaurant, inside the park, is a smart choice for lunch/dinner or excellent brunch on the weekend. The bar offers tasty seasonal cocktails along with other sorts of drinks good for a winter's day.

Resources:
Fort Tryon Park Map (NYC Parks) pdf

The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art website

New Leaf Restaurant website

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from January 25, 2016. The storm that produced this deep snow on January 23 was one of the top five snow storms in the city's recorded history.

Map:










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