A week on the northern tip of Manhattan in Inwood
Inwood is another one of those neighborhoods I felt like I just had to get to on the road to 52. The very northern tip of the island always fascinated me and I only ever made it up to the Cloisters on bike rides in the past. After spending a week with Bronwyn and Matt, my instinct about Inwood proved correct. The neighborhood plays host to some unique aspects of the island of Manhattan including the only “road” on the island (Indian Road), the only old growth (read: original forest) on the island, and the site of where Peter Minuit is said to have purchased Manhattan for the famed 60 guilders and some trinkets.
My hosts for the week were Bronwyn and Matt, who fall under the category of strangers. Bronwyn and I couldn’t quite figure out how we had connected but we think it was originally through Tumblr and then through Project Hope, New York’s annual survey of the homeless population. If you’re interested in participating, details can be found here. I didn’t have any connection to Matt, but he was cool with having a random guy on the couch. They have a nice two bedroom place where you can literally fall out of bed and into the A train. This is uptown, uptown, uptown though, and you’re hopping on the subway at 211th street. Didn’t realize that existed? Well, it goes up to 218th street, but don’t confuse it for the Bronx. One bartender in the neighborhood is known to say that Inwood is “not the f#@%*$# Bronx.” It’s not far though, and I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t get a chance to say hi to Leslie in Riverdale and revisit Wave Hill Park.
The weather was (is) pretty fantastic for the time of year and I ran through Inwood Hill Park, the highest natural elevation in Manhattan. We had drinks at a great beer garden in the neighborhood, and amazing brunch at Indian Road Cafe. As Matt said to me, Indian Road cafe is the only place that has figured out how to do coffee, beer, and a restaurant all at the same time. This cafe and a walk in the park is worth jumping on the Express A train for an hour or so.
Inwood is one of those neighborhoods where you can feel the pride of its residents. It’s quiet, people seem to look out for one another, and I felt like I was on an island more than I do in other parts of the city. There ‘s also a great farmers market all year round - a plus for any NYC neighborhood.
I have a few posts to catch up on as I write from Brooklyn Heights.
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