At the end of the A line in Manhattan lies the largest old-growth forest on the Island. Located on 196 acres, Inwood Hill Park offers a world apart from the daily din of Manhattan’s 1.7 million inhabitants and a chance to walk among the island’s oldest and quietest inhabitants — the stately trees of a natural forest.
The park may not lay claim to the oldest tree in Manhattan despite being home to the oldest tree species planted in the continent, but its breadth of flora makes it the Island’s premier model of diversity. Here, both native and some non-native trees flourish together, each rooted in the same rich soil, each shedding new seedlings to sprout future intermingling generations. Here are 10 outstanding trees to discover in Inwood Hill Park. Coordinates are included.
1. The large black willow tree
Located a stone’s throw from the Park’s salt marsh, this 100-year-old tree towers near a grassy field. The Willow, according to Park rangers Nick Baisley and Daniel Tainow, is not the oldest tree in the vicinity, but it’s one of a fast-growing species, which accounts for its size.
They estimate that it dates back to around 1895, the time when engineers were creating the Harlem River Ship Canal, connecting the Hudson and Harlem Rivers for commerce. But see it while you can, because the tree, they say, is nearing the end of its life. “Around 120 years is the average life span for a Black Willow,” says Tainow.
Coordinates: 40°52’26.9″N 73°55’21.8″W