week after the Boston Unity Run, my friend Melissa and I ran from the Willis Avenue Bridge to Wave Hill, something over 9 miles. Normally we would start at Carl Schurz Park which would bring the mileage up to just under 12. This account will give directions from that park.
I was better able to run this distance than the previous week, but my muscles were still complaining from my recent "almost" Boston Marathon. The weather was perfect and of course Wave Hill is a treat in any season. I would say the trees are a few days behind those in Central Park, and there aren't any stands of cherry trees, but it was still beautiful.
I've run to Wave Hill with my friends numerous times. The most interesting route — but alas, the most complicated — was one we did in July of 2011 in which we attempted to run though just about every park in Manhattan and the Bronx and avoid streets as much as possible. We managed to hit 12 parks in that epic run which is documented here: . Today's run was much simpler: besides the two end points, we just hit 2 parks (Franz Sigel and Inwood Hill) or 4 if you count the East River and Harlem River Promenades.
As for the photos, I've combined shots from several runs with my running friends Susan and Melissa. Those with sharp eyes will be able to tell the April photos from the July photos from the tree foliage.
asically, start at Carl Schurz Park, go up along the East River, over the Willis Avenue Bridge and through the South Bronx, then back into Manhattan and follow the Harlem River up to Dyckman Street. Go along Dyckman Street to the West Side, head up through Inwood Hill Park and cross over the Henry Hudson Bridge to the Bronx again. Then a straight shot north along Independence Avenue will get you to Wave Hill. One advantage of this route is that there is much less elevation gain (aka hills) than the other route — see the elevation profile below.
The only hills are the modest one in the South Bronx which rises to the view point in Franz Sigel Park at mile 4½, the climb from the Macomb's Dam Bridge to the Harlem River entrance ramp at mile 6, and the one up to the Henry Hudson Bridge in Inwood Hill Park at mile 10, which extends into Riverdale all the way to Wave Hill. That last, I would say, is the only one that qualifies as a "real" hill.
And the long stretches along the East River and Harlem River are quite pleasant. Check the map for the big picture; the details follow.
make a point of describing most of the runs in this blog as starting in Carl Schurz Park. That helps the reader in making comparisons with other runs, and in point of fact, my friends and I often do start our runs there, although in the April version of this run we cut off several miles at the beginning. But Carl Schurz is where we start this idealized version. This park is a natural meeting spot for upper East Side runners planning to do some miles up or down the East River and is easy for non Upper East Siders to get to by bus or, heaven forbid, running to.
From the park, head north along the river to the pedestrian overpass at around 120th Street. Head over to First Avenue and up and over the Willis Avenue
Bridge (note: the bridge was under construction in my photo, but it's all done now). Once in the Bronx, zigzag over to Morris Avenue and go up to 144th
Street. This is the first major street that passes over the tracks. Turn right at the Grand Concourse and in about 4 block you will get to Franz Sigel
Park on the left. This has a nice viewpoint about half way through and then you will be back on the Grand Coucourse. After one long block (passing the
huge Bronx court house on the left you will reach 161st Street, a very busy thoroughfare. Cross the street and pass by Joyce Kilmer Park (
I think that I will never see a poem as lovely as a tree ...) with it's
lovely Lorelei statue ( Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten,
Daß ich so traurig bin ...). Continue past the new Yankee Stadium and get onto the Macomb's Dam Bridge. You'll get nice views up the Harlem River and soon
you'll be back in Manhattan bon 155th Street. There, the South Bronx wasn't so bad, was it?
fter crossing over the bridge, go up the hill to the Harlem River Drive entrance ramp which goes down the hill to the left. Stay on the pedestrian walkway — watch out for bikes — and make sure you stay on the main road which will put you on the outside of the highway, right by the river. Follow the river about two miles and you will arrive at the lovely (maintained by Bette Midler's NY Restoration Project). Take a little break here and use the bathrooms if you need to.
Cross Tenth Avenue and go all the way to the Hudson River on Dyckman Street. This is a fairly busy urban throughway with lots of places to get food
or drinks, and which crosses both the #1 train (overhead) and the A-train (underground) — in case you need to bail out. After passing under the 3
bridges, enter Inwood Hill Park just before the river and head north. Stay on the right (easternmost) walkway. Cross the pedestrian bridge over the
tracks and head left (north). After passing the short stub of a walkway on the right which goes under the highway, go north and head rightt at the fork,
up a steep hill. This will get you to the Henry Hudson Bridge and the end of this section. Get ready, you are about to reenter the Bronx!
ross the (a widened section of what used to be Spuyten Duyvil Creek built in the late 19th Century). At the Bronx side of the Bridge, get on the sidewalk and go left on Kapock Street (the first cross street you will come to) and in one short block you will be at Independence Avenue with the Henry Hudson Park across the street. Feel free to explore that park, but I'll continuie this narative along Independence Avenue.
Independence Avenue is one of those Riverdale streets that occasionally disappears and reappears. It starts as a broad street alternatively passing though neighborhoods of condos, churches, synagogues and schools and neighborhoods of really big mansions. At 246th street it becomes a private, narrow and unkept lane and at 247th Street it appears to disappear altogether!
Fear not! Just turn right up the hill and you will shortly come to what appears to be a driveway heading down to the left. You may see a
"Alderbrook/PRIVATE/NO WAY THROUGH".
Although true for cars, it is open to pedestrians and it's actually shown on the map. Just go down and circle around (please avoid going up someone's
driveway) and you will eventually come out to guess what? Independence Avenue! Then in about 300 yards you will be at the entrance to Wave Hill.
And if it's 11:59 AM or earlier you can enter free. Since we are never late , I don't know what the admission cost is.
Hopefully you won't need to find out.
f you have never been to Wave Hill, or in fact never heard of it, you are in for a real treat. It's a 28 acre estate overlooking the Hudson River in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. It has two mansions, a green house, a gift shop, a café and acres and acres of beautiful lawns and gardens. It's owned by New York City and you can enter free of charge on Saturday's before 12 noon. Here's their web site: . And here's the Wikipedia entry: . In April the mansions were being renovated, but we enjoyed the grounds anyway. It was built in 1843 and in 1903 it was enlarged by the acquisition of the adjacent estate of Glyndor. It was built in the era when the rich and famous had mansions on the heights along the Hudson from New York City to West Point and beyond. The Cloisters, Lyndhurst, Nevis and the Rockefeller estates in Tarryrtown come to mind. Check the above links for some good background.
During the many visits we have made over the years we usually start by strolling the grounds (enough already with running!) and generally visit the green house where we might buy a plant or the gift shop where we might buy a gift or the café where we might buy some food and drink — but enough already with shopping! If you get there you'll have no trouble relaxing and enjoying yourself. Here' a summary from the other Wave Hill run report mentioned above on food and transportation:
That's about all there is to say except enjoy the run and enjoy this place — it's a gem!