NFT New York Fort George / Fort Tryon

Fort George / Fort Tryon

The Fort George/Fort Tryon area is also known locally as Hudson Heights, mostly for the benefit of realtors showing off this area's huge upside (literally!). Fort George is the name of the last fort of its kind, built in 1776 at the intersection of Audubon Avenue and 192nd Street. The area is diverse: The neighborhoods surrounding Fort Tryon Park and Yeshiva University are predominantly Jewish, while east of Broadway tends to be more Latin and Caribbean. The streets are some of the steepest on the island, and provide pleasant views (and a lower-body workout). Residents appreciate the quiet streets and better values and best of all, the commute to Lower Manhattan is just a half-hour.

Built in 1935 by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. (the son of one of the master architects behind both Central and Prospect Parks) on land donated to the city by John D. Rockefeller, Fort Tryon Park is the 67-acre chunk of green high up on the bluff above the Hudson River. From here, the Hudson is stunning; the pristine Palisades on the New Jersey side of the river were also made possible by Rockefeller philanthropy, in an effort to protect the view for future generations. In 1995 Bette Midler's New York Restoration Project assisted on a much-needed renovation of the park. If you are feeling cultural, pay a visit to See more.

>The Cloisters. The complex, an extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a fully formed Medieval wonderland, with elements from four French cloisters, stained-glass windows, tapestries and gardens. Don't miss the Medieval Festival that takes place every year in Fort Tryon Park when reenactors reimagine life in the Middle Ages. Warderere!

Down at the edge of the Harlem River stands the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse. The first new community boathouse in New York City in years, it opened in 2004 and offers rowing lessons to members of the community. To reach the boathouse go to Tenth Avenue and Dyckman and walk south on the Lillian Goldman Walkway. Just before you get there, you'll pass by the restored Swindler Cove Park, a nice spot to stare at ducks or contemplate the river. If you decide to continue south on the walkway, the only way out is through the bridge that connects to 155th Street in Harlem.

On the campus of Yeshiva University, the unusual Zysman Hall was designed by Charles B. Meyers and blends Art-Deco and Moorish styles. Today, the building is home to Yeshiva's High School for Boys. If you feel the need to stock up on kosher goodies, now is the time. Cross the street for a full selection of delis, restaurants and bodegas that carry them.

There isn't a ginormous selection of bars but don't leave the neighborhood just yet. The Monkey Room is ideal for game nights or late-night drinks. Quaff craft beer to your heart's content at Buddha Beer Bar. For a good neighborhood spot, try Locksmith Wine Bar.

In case of empty picnic baskets, visitors to Fort Tryon can go to New Leaf Restaurant, an upscale restaurant in a historic building within the park. Find great Indian cuisine at Kismat. Enjoy a real Caribbean meal at La Casa Del Mofongo or go Venezuelan at Cachapas Y Mas. The Mexican food can't be beat at Tacos El Paisa. For perfect falafel make your way to Golan Heights.

This area is home to one-of-a-kind shops like Gideon's Bakery, for kosher sweets, and Food Palace, for caviar and other Russian goodies. Buy your furry friend a treat and a makeover at Critter Outfitter. Get gourmet edibles at Frank's Market or enjoy a rhyme by buying wine from Vines on Pine.


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Posted By:  Jessica Solt
Photo:  Jessica Solt

Critter Outfitter
The Critter Outfitter has just been in the neighborhood for a little over 3 years but owner Valerie Volinski is proud to cater to the pet owners' needs in the area. With hundreds of products available; from food, snacks, pet clothing, toys, and much more, this has become the go-to place for locals with furry friends. Critter Outfitter also has grooming services available for cats and dogs, although they specialize in cats. Delivery service is available. Also, if you ever want to rescue a kitty from a shelter they might hook you up with the right people. If you're ever in the hood, step right in and say hi to lovely Mrs. Parbarry, the store pet.

Posted By:  Jena Tesse Fox
Photo:  Jena Tesse Fox

New Leaf Restaurant & Bar
If you should take the A train, get off at 190th Street, take an elevator up to the top of Fort Tryon Park, stroll through perfectly tended and sculptured gardens and head towards the Cloisters, you'll pass what looks like a humble cabin hidden in a forest of tall trees. This is the New Leaf Cafe, which serves fresh, organic food in an elegant and almost rural setting. Sitting on the outdoor patio and looking out over trees and flowers, one could easily forget that one is dining in Uptown Manhattan. Founded by Bette Midler as part of her New York Restoration Project, the New Leaf Cafe is one of the few Michelin rated restaurants in Inwood. Brunch is especially popular at New Leaf, and at $18.95 prix-fixe, it is the most cost-effective way to enjoy the otherwise somewhat expensive restaurant. A la carte dinner entrees cost between $22 and $32 dollars. Unless the weather is unbearable, every effort should be made to eat outside. Surrounded by the park and right next to the Cloisters, the patio may well be the most romantic places north of 96th Street.

Posted By:  Jena Tesse Fox
Photo:  Jena Tesse Fox

809 Bar & Grill
On one of the most ghetto-y streets in Inwood sits a hidden treasure of taste. Specializing in Dominican churrasco steaks, 809 Sangria Bar is a haven for carnivores who want their beef with a bit more kick than they might find at, say, Peter Luger's, and combines traditional meat-and-potatoes fare with exotic Caribbean flavor. Small yet spartanly elegant, this restaurant specializes in grilled meats and features a good variety of the eponymous beverage. The menu is simple enough for any average red-blooded American to enjoy, but the cuisine is haute enough to appeal to any sophisticated New Yorker. The centerpiece of the menu is the large-yet-thin churrasco steak, grilled to order and then coiled up with basil leaves for a wonderful mix of flavors. Crispy fries made from yucca instead of potatoes serve as the starch, and various chimichurri sauces are provided for dipping everything on your plate. Sangria is, of course, the only appropriate beverage at such a restaurant (Just try ordering a seltzer. Go on. I dare you.), and there are several varieties to try. The classic is probably the best choice for purists, and conjures images of bullfights and flamenco. Ole!

Posted By:  Dave Cook
Photo:  Dave Cook

Nena La Rubia Dessert Cart
Why settle for cider? In the largely Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights, the cold-weather drink of choice is a hot cup of habichuelas con dulce (ah-bee-Cway-lahs con Dool-say), "beans with sweets." As I shuffled my way up the line at this popular stand, another customer told me that back home, many families prepare this treat at Christmastime, and around Easter, too. My cupful (just a buck!) floated milk crackers on top of a thick beverage that may have combined sweet creamed beans, cinnamon, and perhaps a little coconut milk. (Who knows for sure? "Nena La Rubia" isn't likely to give away her recipe, and in any case, she was too busy with her ladle.) I also discovered whole red kidney beans and some sort of Caribbean sweet potato while poking around underneath, but for habichuelas con dulce, you don't really need a spoon: Drink up, and tap the side of your cup to shake free the last few goodies at the bottom.

Posted By:  Rachel Greenwald
Photo:  Rachel Greenwald

IS 218/Swindler Cove Garden
A nifty, back-to-nature experience is Swindler Cove park. Completed by the New York Restoration Project in 2003, five-acre Swindler Cove provides visitors with restored wetlands, a fresh water pond, and a children's garden. By train, take the #1 to Dykeman and walk east. By bicycle, follow the Manhattan Greenway to the same intersection, but make sure you end up on the north side of Dykeman. If you don't, you'll find yourself on a not-so-nifty, south-side bike path leading to an area of High Bridge Park abandoned since the mid-1970s. This area is slated for renovation in 2007, but until then, it's a prime example of urban decay. While you're enjoying the blight, walk ten-minutes southward to High Bridge stairway. Completed in 1848 and modeled after Roman architecture, High Bridge used to deliver water to lower Manhattan as part of the Old Croton Aqueduct. In addition to keeping city-goers cholera-free, the bridge was a popular destination until the mid-20th century. High Bridge, like the abandoned paths that serve it, is also slated for restoration. But a word of caution: if you decide to take a sneak peak, don't sneak in alone. Trust us.

Posted By:  Rachel Greenwald

Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse
For a sea-level perspective of the West Bronx, and a opportunity to dip your feet into the Harlem River, head over to the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse, tucked into the far right corner of Swindler Cove Park. The boathouse, completed in 2004 by the New York Restoration Project, not only houses boats—duh—but also provides a number of Tri-State Area rowing clubs, colleges, and schools with a meeting place and facility. Best of all, its main caretaker, the New York Rowing Association, offers rowing lessons for adults. If you're one of those rare New Yorkers who's out of bed before noon—hey, my lawyer doesn't even get up that early—you can sign up for weekend instruction held from 7-10 am. Although registration was in May for September and October classes, the painfully early start may have left a few openings available. Send an email to And if you have crew experience already, the full list of member associations is available at To get to there, take the 1 Train to Dykeman and walk eastward to the Harlem River or ride your bike along the east side of the Manhattan Greenway.

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