Manhattan Waterfront Greenway (North)
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:West 130th Street and Marginal Street, Manhattan, NY
Hours:6 A.M. to 1 A.M. daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: Fort Washington Park
Water/Snacks: None

The northern spur of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway offers beautiful views of the Hudson River, the George Washington Bridge, and the landmark red lighthouse.

Looking north on the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway in winter.
Photo by: Wikimedia Commons/Jim Henderson

The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, the longest section of the 32-mile Hudson River Valley Greenway, is the most heavily used bikeway in the United States. The section between West 125th and West 181st streets follows the Hudson River, providing idyllic views of the New Jersey shore on the opposite bank. The greenway is the product of recent efforts to transform the Manhattan coastline into a vibrant area for recreation and commuting.

Begin your walk or bike ride at West Harlem Piers Park. The route leading north initially involves following signs to navigate under an overpass, but soon resolves into a clear path leading north along the Hudson River to Fort Washington Park. The 183-acre park stretches between West 155th and West 179th streets and has athletic fields and courts, and a large playground. It also contains the famed Little Red Light House at West 178th Street, just below the awesome expanse of the George Washington Bridge.

The lighthouse was the subject of a children’s book by Hildegarde H. Swift, The Little Red Light House and the Great Gray Bridge, published in 1942. The 40-foot structure was built in 1880 on what was then an isolated rocky point on Manhattan’s northern edge. After the George Washington Bridge was completed in 1931, the lights of the lighthouse were overwhelmed by the beams emanating from 600-foot towers above. Inspired by Swift’s book, a nationwide campaign prevented demolition of the lighthouse. Today the lighthouse, fronted by picnic tables, makes an ideal picnic spot.

To exit at West 181st Street, walk under the bridge and up a steep hill that curves through a tunnel and ultimately connects to a footbridge that spans the Henry Hudson Parkway.

Remember: Winds off the Hudson River can make the greenway an unsuitable destination for small children during winter.

Plan B:

Fort Tryon Park and Inwood Hill Park are close to the northern terminus of this walk. Also consider walking or biking over the George Washington Bridge. The south side is open to pedestrians and bikers, and can be accessed by wending west on West 178th Street.


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