Northern Manhattan is blessed with an abundance of parks. In Washington Heights we have the Highbridge Park on the east, the Hudson River Greenway, J. Hood Wright Park, several smaller green spaces, and the must-see Fort Tryon Park.
Fort Tryon Park
Fort Tryon Park, Linden Terrace
Built on land that was once home to several estates, all with sweeping views of the Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades, Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters may be the best gifts New York City ever received. John D. Rockefeller Jr. (aka Junior) bought the land, paid for the construction of the park, acquired the art and artifacts for the Cloisters and then gave it all to the citizens of the city. Junior hired Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. to design the park, so it should be no surprise to those familiar with Central Park, designed by Olmsted Sr., to find a similar design aesthetic with curving paths, rustic stonework, and curated views.
Favored by locals for dog-walking, sledding in the winter, yoga in the morning, or just a stroll, the park is home to the Heather Garden. With its specimen trees, annuals, and perennials offering texture and color, the Heather Garden is the largest accessible garden in the city (no fee to enter, open whenever the park is open). While the garden plants are breathtaking from spring to fall, many heaths and heathers have color all year, including the depths of winter, a welcome visual pick-me-up for anyone walking through the park.
To Visit Fort Tryon Park, the New Leaf Café, and the Cloisters:
Bus: The M4 and M98 (rush hours only) travel to the park.
Subway: A train to 190th Street station, take the elevator to Fort Washington Avenue and turn right at the top of the stairs. Follow the signs to the café or museum once in the park; the Heather Garden is directly ahead.