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 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).