Monday, January 18, 2010

Photo Essay: Riverdale Park

Ever since I was working full-time at the end of September as an inhouse consultant, I've been dying to get outside. The weather held up relatively well into the fall and winter - enough to allow me to walk to/from work nearly every day - so it was killing me to be inside during all hours of daylight.

It's been a pretty wintry mix since I was relieved of my duties before Christmas, so today was really the first nice day during which I could experiment with some winter hiking with Edith.

We went to the Bronx. Its surprising woodsiness - opened up now that the leaves have fallen - has been calling me back.

Our destination today: Riverdale Park, a narrow little strip of forested area between the Bronx's affluent estates and the Hudson River, bordered at the top and bottom by the Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil Metro-North stations.


Near the northernmost entrance of the park, with muddy trails and a view of the Palisades in the distance.


The ground was covered by fallen leaves, branches and trees, and thicket.


The long shadows of winter were upon us even though it was only late morning.


There were clear signs of civilization: not only the houses to the east peeking out from between the trees, but the occasional wrapper and bottle.


Despite the deadness around us, there were tiny sprouts of new grass growth underfoot.


A couple steep, muddy paths served as diversions to lead us down to the train tracks.




Across the street from the Forest Preserve part of Riverdale Park is the Raoul Wallenberg Forest, a designated Forever Wild site. It was surprisingly less woodsy than its neighboring forest, and was lacking the distinct trails that we'd slipped and slid on (as did the dogs and dog-walkers that we passed along the way) across the street.

Despite its Forever Wild designation, we found some ruins which looked like a pool, but shattered by the trees that are now growing up from inside of it. It was very curious to us at the time, but according to Forgotten NY, the site used to be part of the 1890 James Douglas estate (later occupied by U Thant) and there are remnants of mansions "scattered about"!

On the next nice day, I think I'll have to go back to Pelham Bay Park and Van Cortlandt Park before the leaves start to sprout again...

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