Autumn in New York

  A cruise from the Rockaway Inlet through NY Bay and up the Hudson River a day after a freakish (or maybe the new normal) snowstorm hit the area and left millions of people without power, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the Fall foliage was in full bloom.

First, the Brooklyn oceanfront......
Coney Island is undergoing a transformation; for over 100 years it has been an amusement park and beach for the working class masses, now it's losing the honky-tonk charm for a bland theme-park renovation.
The old, and landmark, Wonder Wheel and Parachute Jump bookend the new attractions.

Under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, passing Liberty and Ellis Islands, Governors Island and the Manhattan skyline comes into view.....

One World Trade Center still under construction
Around the tip of Manhattan and up the Hudson....

            a fireboat puts on a display in front of Battery Park City
   midtown and the west side piers 
  uptown Riverside Church and Grant's Tomb
 pretty sailboats on both sides

approaching the George Washington Bridge with the Little Red Lighthouse at it's feet
The Cloisters at the northern end of Manhattan    
   on the New Jersey side to the west, the Palisades Interstate Park
the cliffs rise higher as you head north
        nearing the Tappen Zee Bridge and the end of the park

and of course, a bit of history:  The Palisades appear on one of the first European maps of the New World in 1541, based on the description of the explorer Giovanni de Verrazano. Before the creation of the park, all of the Palisades had been in private hands, the lower portion consisting mostly of riverfront villages and the upper section of large estates.  
stereoscopic views from 1865, 1875 and 1880

In the 19th century the cliffs were also widely quarried for railroad ballast, leading to the efforts to preserve them. 

Due to the work of the New Jersey Federation of Women's Clubs, the Palisades Park Commission was founded in 1900, which was authorized to acquire land for a 13-mile stretch between Fort Lee, NJ and Piermont, NY.  Mary Averell Harriman, widow of the Union Pacific Railroad president, offered the state another 10,000 acres and one million dollars toward the creation of a state park. George W. Perkins, head of the commission, raised another $1.5 million from a dozen wealthy contributors including John D. Rockefeller and J. Pierpont Morgan. Rockefeller also bought up and donated land to the park to ensure no development would spoil the view from the Cloisters.

Only a handful of historic houses remain in the park, including the c.1760 Kearney House which is now a museum. The house is believed to have been used by British General Cornwallis during the Revolutionary War.
   1776 depiction of Cornwallis' troops

The Kearney's moved into the house in the early 1800's and expanded it to include a tavern, the park commission bought it and used it as a park police station in the early 20th century.

 yesterday and today

    heading back...into the sunset

historic images; LoC, MCNY,NYPL and
all others copyright nycedges 2011


  1. thanks for the pictures and the memory. I remember an outing with my friends, Suze and Enzo and their son back in the early 90's up to Bear Mountain in late September. On the way back, there was a truly freak snowstorm that dumped a few inches in a few hours. The trees, in full foliage lost limbs and created massive power outages. NYC was not really affected.
    The Palisades were a constant refuge for me. Do you know how many species of wild orchids grow on the cliffs? (at least 8) I would find kilos of chantrelles every year and many other wild edible mushrooms.
    Mushroom season is just winding down here after a suddenly wet autumn...last night I brought in almost 2 kilos of Rose de Pres....almost the same specie of agaricus as your cultivated champignons, but more flavor.

  2. I also remember the ruins of a house on the edge of the was pretty impressive with some walls and stairs...below tallman mountain...around piermont...this was in the early 80's...I wonder if it is still there.
    The last time I was around this area, last September, I was biking with my friend Enzo, who is an avid 72 yr old long distance biker and can leave me in the dust...he lives in the West Village and goes to Nyack and back at least 2 times a month!

  3. M- it's funny, I've explored Bear Mt., Harriman and many spots along the Hudson, but have never hiked around the much closer Palisades! After this cruise I'm inspired to explore it by foot. As far as the old ruin, once you get to the NY state line there are residential areas with very large houses scattered in the hills (as I'm sure you know) so alas, we didn't notice it.

  4. Every scene in these photos just grab you. Beautiful.

  5. thanks so much! we were lucky to have such perfect weather

  6. These photos are so great they almost make you feel like as if you were there.

  7. thank you Tyler, much appreciated

  8. I have a story about biking on Rte 9a with my buddy enzo....there is a deadly road that goes down to Piermont...on the Hudson. Deadly for bijers because it is an unrelenting steep climb. So, I am with Enzo who is a 7o year old long distance biker who I struggle to keep up with and two young russian guys who are egging us old guys on...up the hill...suddenly a guy just breezes by us on a bike talking on a cell phone. This is kind of pathetically hilarious, as I am struggling to keep up with a guy who is 10 years older than me who is being egged on by two russian guys in their 20's who are working hard to keep ahead of Enzo. But we are just dumbstruck by the guy on the cell phone who isn't even braking a sweat.
    So 10 agonizing minutes later, we are at the top of the hill and and we all go to a rest stop to recover and there is the guy on the cell phone still talking. It was Lance Armstrong! That made me fee justl a little better....