The start of your day begins somewhere very special… at Inwood Hill Park. It almost seems like you are not in New York City. The rugged terrain, high hills and glacially scoured topography will give you an experience like no other in the city. You could hike for hours in this largest remaining forestland in Manhattan.
There’s a museum tucked away in the upper edges of the city that transports you to a different era. The Cloisters, an off-shoot of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is situated in a medieval castle and former monastery. The museum retains most of the original castle structure, with stone pillars that adorn the several courtyards in the building, called the Cuxa. The museum curates many pieces of artwork that center around the European medieval architecture, sculptors, and decorative arts. Another great exterior attraction of the Cloisters is the Bonnefont courtyard, a composite from a number of monasteries from the region in France. There’s also the Fountain at the Trie, which was originally part of a convent in southwest France.
As you walk around the northern part of the neighborhood, you will discover a beautiful piece of engineering. The Henry Hudson Bridge was constructed in 1936 and travels over the Spuyten Duyvil Creek into the Henry Hudson Parkway in the Bronx. The steel arch bridge is a marvel of architecture with its perfectly placed steel beams that majestically curve over the creek to form a half moon. The shape was inspired by the desire to commemorate Henry Hudson’s voyage on his boat, “Half Moon.” When it opened in 1936, the bridge was the longest plate girder arch and fixed bridge in the world.
Now that you are back to the urban life, the next stop in your Inwood adventure is the Seaman-Drake Arch at 5065 Broadway at West 216th Street. The arch is the remnant of a former hilltop estate that was built in 1855. The biggest reason to see this piece of architecture is that the archway was modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Today, it features obscured views from the surrounding low-rise residential buildings and has been tagged by many graffiti artists, affording it a charming city appeal. Made of Inwood marble, the arch exudes a distinctly European flair.
Inwood is a pretty unique historical kaleidoscope of urban life. Another example of its remarkable history is the Dyckman House at 4881 Broadway. The Dutch Colonial-style farmhouse was originally part of 250 acres of farmland and was built in 1785 by William Dyckman. The landmark house maintains much of its original elements, such as the front and back porches as well as the red brick walls and granite foundation. It is the oldest Dutch Colonial home in the city.
The nightlife in Inwood has a sense of ease compared to the other neighborhoods in New York City, which is faithfully reflected in the very laid back Inwood Local. The quaint little bar features a long list of craft brews to complement the domestic favorites. There’s plenty of typical spirits, from whiskey to vodkas. But the casual vibe is why this place is a favorite amongst locals.