Bohemia Blog by Agent Asher Jacob Ben-Or
Upper Manhattan- A Green Escape from the Concrete Jungle
As a lifetime resident of Inwood, I’ve seen the landscape change significantly as Upper Manhattan’s popularity has boomed. With relatively cheap apartments, easy access to Midtown and Lower Manhattan via the A and 1 trains, Inwood and Washington Heights have become havens for urban pioneers, NYC transplants, and families looking to get the best bang for their buck while still living on the Island. When I was growing up, the 5 block strip of upscale restaurants and clubs on Dyckman street was no more than a row of dilapidated bodegas and auto body shops.
All over Upper Manhattan, blocks, streets, storefronts, and entire neighborhoods have evolved to reflect the new demographics. Although the neighborhoods are changing, one thing that hasn’t changed up here is the green-space and parks. With 2 of the most gorgeous and expansive parks in the 5 boroughs, the Northern tip of the Island boasts some of the best offerings for nature and outdoor recreation that a city can have. A lot of people move up here for the lower rent prices, but many of them stay for the amazing access to parks, recreation, and the great outdoors. Here are my top 5 favorite places in Washington Heights and Inwood to get your escape from the concrete jungle:
FORT TRYON DOG RUN (AKA SIR WILLIAM’S RUN):
Nestled smack dab in the middle of the gorgeous, scenic, and meticulously well-maintained Fort Tryon Park, this huge dog run is frequented by locals and Uptown natives, and lots of friendly pups. It has a fenced-in section for small dogs, and provides a huge space to let your furry friend fetch, run free, and play with other dogs! They need to escape the concrete jungle too, after all.
INWOOD CANOE CLUB
Located on the Southwestern tip of Inwood NY on the Hudson River, the Inwood Canoe Club is the oldest canoe and kayak club in Manhattan. They hold an open house once a week, and will let you use a canoe or kayak on the Hudson river free of charge! They also offer annual memberships if you want to go all out. This is one of my favorite hidden gems in the city; it’s a fantastic way to experience the outdoors without driving out of town.
JACOB JAVITS PLAYGROUND
At the Southwestern tip of Ft. Tryon Park sits this awesome playground, frequented by kids and adults alike. A full size basketball court hosts pick-up games 7 days a week, all day long, and most of the players are super friendly and eager to let newcomers join in. There are several pull-up bars in the playground where fitness enthusiasts work out and share tips with one another. In addition, there is a huge playground with sprinklers, slides, and monkey bars, great for families with young kids.
If you want to play in Inwood, but are a bit too big for the playground (Millenials, here’s looking at you!) check out the Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park. This is an event that’s perfect for the whole fam! The 33rd Annual Medieval Festival will take place on October 1, 2017. Check out all the details on Uptown Collective. Take a trip back in time and join the thousands of uptowners from NYC and beyond that come out to take part in the fun!
BREAD AND YOGA IN THE PARK
Every week all summer long,Bread and Yoga (a fantastic yoga studio located in Inwood) hosts outdoor yoga classes in Inwood Hill Park. The best part about it is that it’s absolutely FREE! Bread and Yoga classes are taught by friendly and seasoned yoga instructors, and is a great way to relax, get some exercise, and mingle with you neighbors.
INWOOD HILL PARK WOODS
Most non-locals think of Inwood Hill Park as a typical city park with baseball fields, tennis courts, and dog runs. What many of them don’t know is that Inwood NYC is home to a generously sized wooded area, with nothing more than a few paved roads to remind you that you aren’t in a truly secluded forest. Many of the trails in the woods run adjacent to the Hudson River, and boast breath-taking open views. This is my absolute favorite part of living in Inwood. Whenever the the fast-paced nature of urban life gets me down, the woods in Inwood Hill Park are always there rejuvenate body and mind, and offer an escape from the usual city landscape.
Well, there you have it! I hope you take the time to visit the places on this list, and that they give you as much joy as they give me. As a lifelong native of Upper Manhattan, I can genuinely say that I never plan on leaving. #Moveuptown. You won’t regret it!