2. The Little Red Lighthouse is a cute reminder of NYC’s past
The Little Red Lighthouse, made popular by the 1942 children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, is a small lighthouse in Fort Washington Park easily accessible from the center of Hudson Heights. The lighthouse sits underneath the George Washington Bridge on Jeffrey’s Hook, which served as a crossing point for Native American mariners at the narrowest part of the Hudson. The lighthouse began as a red pole hung out over the river, and a light was added to the pole in 1889 to avoid traffic accidents.
The lighthouse was reconstructed in 1921 by the United States Lighthouse Establishment, and it used to be operated by a part-time lighthouse keeper. Yet as construction on the George Washington Bridge continued, the lighthouse was rendered virtually obsolete, and it was decommissioned and almost auctioned off. Local residents though advocated for its preservation, and it was deeded to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation in 1951. The children’s book ends by encouraging readers to “see for yourself” the lighthouse next to the bridge, and visitors can get up close to the architectural gem (and sometimes go inside it).