A guest post from my pal, Jeffrey Whelan.
Yes, there really is a little red lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. It is right at the edge of the Hudson River on the Manhattan side, and I have biked up to it many times.
In recent years, New York City has spruced up and expanded the bike path, building parks and recreational piers along it to attract people to the water’s edge. The ride up is varied and scenic, and takes only 45 minutes from midtown.
The lighthouse itself was immortalized in the 1942 children’s book “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge” written by Hildegarde Swift and illustrated by Lynd Ward. The book itself is still in print, and is largely responsible for the preservation of the lighthouse after the U.S. Coast Guard deactivated it. The NYC Parks Department holds a festival to honor the lighthouse every September, with tours and refreshment, and of course a reading of the book.
The Lighthouse is in Fort Washington Park, 178th Street & Hudson River, New York, NY [From Lafayette Place at W. 181st Street, take steps, footpath and footbridge over the highway, down to the park and south to the Lighthouse.]
If you prefer my way, take the bike path north along the Hudson. You’ll encounter 3 twists:
- Just north of the 79th Street Boat Basin, the path is blocked and you’ll detour through a tunnel up a ramp into a broad promenade in Riverside Park. Go up a quarter mile until the promenade breaks into paths; take the left most one down the hill back through another tunnel and you’ll be back at the river.
- At 125th Street, take a sharp right under the West Side Highway and the first left under Riverside Drive. Head up to 135th Street where you’ll see the bike path resume on your left, back under the West Side Highway
- At about 160th Street, the path appears to dwindle with a soccer field ahead. Look hard on your right, and you’ll see the path resume along some railroad tracks, my favorite tretch, dipping down through a canopy of trees.
Photo credit: flickr