Sitting at 200 feet above sea level, Fort Tryon Park is one of Manhattan’s highest points, offering some of the most impressive views of the Hudson River. Named after British Governor Sir William Tryon in honor of the British victory in the Battle of Fort Washington, the land was acquired by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. who hired the Olmstead brothers to design the striking park.
Fort Tryon Park was designated as an official New York City landmark in 1983, and has been a popular destination in the neighborhood due to its large variety of year-round activities and amenities. Often considered as “a bit out of the way” to Manhattan dwellers, here are 10 secrets about Fort Tryon Park that may get it on your New York bucket list.
10. The Lost Mansion of Cornelius K.G. Billings Used to Be One of Manhattan’s Most Luxurious Homes
Photo from Library of Congress
The northern edge of Manhattan where Fort Tryon Park now sits was once a country estate where wealthy owners built extravagant estates. When Cornelius K.G. Billings, a wealthy industrialist and horseman from Chicago moved to New York in the early 19th century, he followed suit. By 1907, the C.K.G. Billings estate was completed with a 25,000 square foot lodge and stables, a magnificent mansion as well as a yacht landing on the Hudson River at Dyckman Street. The lodge which sat on the highest part of the estate offered views southward as far as the Statue of Liberty. Later in 1910 he commissioned to have the entire estate, including the interior, photographed, in order to document and showcase his wealth.