Most people who visit New York City confine their visits to midtown and downtown Manhattan.  While there are, of course, tons of things to see and do there, you are missing a great deal if you don't explore other parts of the city.  Here is a "hidden" gem that is well worth travling off the beaten path.


Washington Heights, Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters


I grew up in Washington Heights in the 1950s and 1960s and, visiting there recently, was surprised at how unchanged it is.  Walking through the residential areas of the neighborhood was lovely.  It is clean and well-maintained with many tree-lined streets.  If the cars had been transformed into those of earlier decades it would have been impossible to notice any difference over the last 50 years.  To get there, take the "A" train to 190th Street and enter Fort Tryon Park.*  The flower gardens are incredibly beautiful.  Keep walking North and you will find shaded areas in which to enjoy views of the Hudson River.  Follow the signs to reach the Cloisters, an architectural gem with a remarkable collection of medieval art.  Medieval art?  Who would want to see that?  Believe me, YOU do!  The Unicorn Tapestries are marvelous.  Ask to see the carved wooden rosary bead: 2 inches in diameter.  Walk down to the Dyckman Street/200th Street subway station and get back on the "A" train to return. 


And, if you're wondering, the classic jazz tune, "Take the A Train," by Billy Staryhorn and popularized by Duke Ellington (for whom Strayhorn wrote it) takes its name from the subway you'll be riding.


*If you want a longer walk, get off at the north end of the 181st Street Hudson View GardensHudson View GardensWildflower Garden in Fort Tryon ParkWildflower Garden in Fort Tryon ParkBenches in Fort Tryon ParkBenches in Fort Tryon ParkOverlooking the Hudson River & PalisadesOverlooking the Hudson River & PalisadesFrom one of the Unicorn TapestriesFrom one of the Unicorn TapestriesCarved Rosary Bead (2 in. diameter)Carved Rosary Bead (2 in. diameter)station (front of the train).  Take the giant elevator up to 184th Street and Fort Washngton Avenue  Cross the street into Bennett Park and you will be at the highest point of elevation in New York City.  The Tudor Style architecture of Hudson View Gardens is on the west.  Exit on the northwest end and take a walk up Pinehurst Avenue to Fort Tryon park. 



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