We attended a tour of Fort Washington Park with David Freeland, author of Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville, who, having recently moved to Washington Heights, decided to explore his new neighborhood to see what lost treasures he could find. He came across a collection of relics scattered throughout Fort Washington Park which laid the basis for his tour.

1. Remnants of Paterno’s Castle

The remnants of Paterno’s Castle in the foreground:

The tour began on the corner of Fort Washington Avenue and 181st Street with a brief history of Revolutionary New York. The fate of the colonists was bleak and a series of forts had been constructed along the New York and New Jersey Palisades. Fort Washington, which lent its name to the park, was located a couple of blocks north from where we stood. Today, Bennett Park is located on the site of the fort. However, the story of the fort itself was merely a distraction to treasures we had waiting for us inside of the park.  On our way to the park, our group passed the turreted retaining wall of Castle Village, one of the only remnants of Paterno’s Castle (pictured above).

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7 thoughts on “The Secrets of Fort Washington Park

  1. Thanks for a great article, Dave. BTW, those ships sunk by the Patriots to block the British were located at the narrowest – and deepest – part of the Hudson off Manhattan. Their defensive chevaux-de-frise sank more than 100 feet below the bottoms of the British ships. While this Hudson site is the deepest, the nearby US Geological Survey marker in Bennett Park marks Manhattan’s highest elevation – 268 feet above sea level. This information comes from Eric W. Sanderson’s wonderful book, Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City.

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    an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

  3. Great tour! Thank you for posting it here. My mother and I explored Inwood and Fort Tryon this summer and will add this to our list for next year.

    1. That would be make a great trip! I’m hoping to get up there as well, and do another visit to the Cloisters.

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