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.

The Big Picture

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.

The East River Promenade and the South Bronx

 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?

Back to Manhattan and Along the Harlem River Promenade

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!

Independence Avenue in the Riverdale Section of 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 which says "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.

Wave Hill

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:

  haven't forgotten that when you run a long run, especially in summer, you don't want to be left in some spot where there's nothing to eat or drink and no convenient way to get back home. You can eat on site at Wave Hill or nearby (nearby, that is, for a runner like you), and transit is also available within walking distance (walking distance, that is, for a runner. ). Here's the deal:

Food: For food there is a café in the southern mansion with a reasonable menu of ready-made soups, sandwiches and the like, with an assortment of soft drinks, beer and wine. You can eat outside on a lovely terrace with river views. For traditional pub food, there is an excellent Irish pub/restaurant, , with a good brunch menu about a mile distant, and it's right on the way to the subway (the 238th Street station). I've eaten at both places many times. See the map to get there and then to the subway.

Transit: Wave Hill has a web page outlining directions to and from the site by train, bus, subway or car: . You can walk to the subway or the Metro North station or get a free shuttle bus (see next).

Shuttle: A free shuttle bus leaves the Wave Hill gate at 20 minutes past the hour to get you to the Riverdale Metro North station for the New York bound train. A free shuttle leaves the gate on the hour to take you down to the subway with a drop off near the 242nd Street No. 1 train station. I've never taken this shuttle, so to confirm schedule and availability, check with the guard when you go in.

Train: The fastest way back to the city is to take the Metro North train from the Riverdale station, a little over a half mile from Wave Hill, all down hill. Just walk out the Wave Hill gate, go left on Independence Avenue to 252nd Street, which is the end of the Wave Hill property. Go left down the hill and then bear right on Sycamore Avenue which will shortly get you to 254th Street. Go left on 254th down the hill to the station. At the train station you should buy a ticket from the machine — it costs more if you pay on the train. The New York bound trains are on the other side — use the overpass.

The train is more expensive than the subway but it's closer to Wave Hill and and much faster to get you to mid town (30 minutes to Grand Central). The one way off-peak price to Grand Central is $6.50 ($4.25 for seniors). Inbound trains leave at 3 and 36 minutes past the hour. Here's the schedule: .

Subway: The IRT No. 1 train's last stop at 242nd Street and Broadway is the closest subway station. It's about a mile and a quarter from Wave Hill, almost all down hill. I've walked it many times. Just head out the gate and go straight east on 249th Steet, to the Henry Hudson Parkway. Go right along the parkway to the 246th Street overpass and go all the way east on 246th to Post Road. Turn right down the hill on Post Road and you'll end up right next to the 242nd Street station.

Getting to An Beal Bocht and then the subway is almost the same (check the map), except you go along the Henry Hudson Parkway to the second next overpass, 239 Street/Riverdale Ave. Cross the Parkway, and go on Riverdale 1 block to 238th Street. Go down 238th a little more than a block and the the pub is on the left (north) side of the street. After eating just continue down the hill (including 1 block of stairs) and you'll soon be at Broadway and the 238th Steet station.

Beware of weekend interruptions to the No. 1 train service. Check the alerts on the MTA web site () before you go.

That's about all there is to say except enjoy the run and enjoy this place — it's a gem!