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Showing posts from February, 2020

A Weekend Walk on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

Imagine strolling from town to town near the eastern shores of the Hudson River, walking a well-trodden path lined with trees and stately architecture and with easy access to cafes, local shops, and train stations for an easy ride home. Imagine a weekend when the sun is bright and the sun is warm, and many other people - but not too many - are out enjoying the same weather and the same stroll. Such were the pleasures on a recent Sunday, in the latter part of this unseasonal winter, along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail not too far north from New York City.


The Old Croton Aqueduct, the system that once delivered fresh water from the Croton River to New York City, was a huge and complex marvel of engineering. The trail sits on top of the aqueduct system. This post describes a walk along just a section of the trail, the one that begins at the Keeper’s House in Dobbs Ferry and ends in Irvington.


First, catch a Metro-North Hudson line train to Dobbs Ferry, a village in southern Westchester C…

Riding the Staten Island Ferry, and Then Some

Riding the Staten Island Ferry is still a popular tourist attraction in New York. The most common practice is to board a ferry at the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan, ride the ferry to see the sights, disembark at the St. George Terminal in Staten Island, and then immediately turn around for the next trip back. There’s nothing wrong with this. The ferry trip is free, arrives and departs with predictable frequency, and the 25-minute ride offers photogenic views of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Plus, for New Yorkers, it’s sometimes nice to be reminded that people travel to New York from all over the world to see firsthand what all the fuss is about. They seem to be enjoying the experience.


Still, it seems rude to visit another borough and not even say hello. While I would still suggest a visit to a Staten Island destination such as Snug Harbor Cultural Center (especially the Noble Maritime Collection), just a bus ride away, here I recommend a couple of attraction…

A Walk in the Heights: From Fort Tryon Park to Fort Washington Park

Those who long to get outside, view inspiring landscapes, and also catch up on New Year’s exercise resolutions should make their way to Upper Manhattan. Up here, the island has not been entirely flattened like the southern parts. A walk uptown, generally north of 175th Street, often incorporates a challenging climb.


This walk, beginning with the two highest points in Manhattan and then leading down to the eastern shore of the Hudson River, offers not only great scenery but also serves as an overview of the apartment life and streetscapes of this largely residential area west of Broadway.


Walking uptown near the Hudson River can easily invite comparisons to walks in the European countryside, even if those visions mainly come from fairytales. Beginning with a view of the Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s branch that houses its medieval art collection, the local built environment takes in a considerable amount of medieval-inspired architecture. Medieval castle fortresses inspir…

Central Park in Winter: A Walk to Belvedere Castle

The winter has been mild so far in New York City, so nothing should stop us from getting outside and stretching the legs. Especially if a castle is involved. Belvedere Castle, located in a busy area of Central Park, serves as a fine destination for a winter walk. Aside from feeling like the final destination of an epic quest (never mind taking a subway to get here), the castle has been recently renovated. No longer a drafty castle, the building is now pleasantly equipped with indoor heating. So, no matter how windy and cold the walk, there’s the promise of warm castle rooms at the end of the journey.


When Central Park was taking shape at the end of the Civil War,  a rocky cliff near the 79th Street traverse presented an aesthetic challenge. In A Description of the New York Central Park (1869), writer Clarence Cook noted the summit “continued to be an eye-sore, and by no means the satisfactory terminus to the walks of this portion, it was felt, ought to be.”






The original planners of Ce…