Friday, April 14, 2017

First VIP post of 2017

One year ago today, VIP posted about the little Dutchman's Breeches blooming in Inwood Hill Park.

Thanks to a trial run of Nancy Bruning's upcoming Forest Fitness Class, we learned on Wednesday that they are blooming once again!  Spicebush is too, creating a golden haze throughout the Clove near the rock formation known as Shorakappock.

Nancy's Forest Fitness Class starts next Monday, April 17th
12 noon to 1:00 pm
Meet at noon at the Nature Center - about a block west of, but inside the Indian Road and West 218th street entrance to Inwood Hill Park (across from the Indian Road Cafe).

Facebook link:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Preserve Inwood! May 7th Jane's Walk!

Join us on May 7 for an on-the-ground tour of the neighborhood and discuss these issues with its citizens!
4650 Broadway, site of proposed 27 story development.  
Built in 1926, this is one of three remaining buildings in Manhattan 
by Detroit-based, prolific architect Albert Kahn.
Join Inwood residents and members of Volunteers for Isham Park and Transportation Alternatives for a walk focused on the design history of Inwood, the community at the northern tip of Manhattan. The tour will also highlight potential changes to its cohesive Art Deco streetscapes and WPA-funded park spaces, as well as proposed improvements to the existing street infrastructure. Capture it while you can: attendees will also see architect Albert Kahn's uptown showroom for the now-defunct Packard Motor Company (above), this building could be lost as only one negative result of requested up-zoning. 
 May 7th 2016
9:00 am
Existing conditions: Ft. Tryon Park. 4650 Broadway 
visibility study by Saratoga Associates

Proposed 23-story tower from Ft. Tryon Park. 4650 Broadway 
visibility study by Saratoga Associates

     The Historic Districts Council chose Inwood as one of the Six to Celebrate neighborhoods in 2011 for its historical, architectural and environmental attributes. Nearly half of the land in Inwood is public park space which preserves natural terrain and geological features. Thus, Inwood’s distinctive development pattern and architecture was created in relation to the original landscape of Manhattan Island.  
     One of Inwood and Washington Heights’ treasured historical resources is Fort Tryon Park, a 67-acre park which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of only ten Scenic Landmarks in all of New York City.  Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. the park’s landscape is unrivaled in its romantic views of the Hudson River, the Palisades, and its rich topography.
      However, the super-tall development found in other parts of the city has arrived above 200th Street in Manhattan in this low-scale neighborhood. Ft. Tryon Park and the Inwood community is currently threatened by two proposed buildings which will irreversibly alter the experience of the park and the neighborhood at large.  The proposed upzoning for 4650 Broadway will be a 27-story building abutting the park, four times taller than the surrounding buildings’ heights. The other proposal, 4566 Broadway, would allow a 19-story development (increase in FAR from 3.44 to 9.96). 
   Click here to send a letter saying "NO" to spot-rezoning and require an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) of the cumulative impacts of these projects, and undertake a comprehensive plan to develop appropriately scaled development, similar to the City’s InwoodNYC plan immediately to the north.

This Jane's Walk is co-sponsored by the Historic Districts Council.  See their post (which is heavily quoted above) on the upcoming Inwood walk here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Jane's Walk in Inwood Saturday morning May 7th

Tower of the Cloisters Museum, Ft. Tryon Park, viewed from Isham Park.
Please come walk & talk about Inwood on a Jane's Walk to be held on Saturday May 7th from 9:00 to 11:00am.  Over 200 Jane's Walks are to be held on the weekend of May 6-8, 2016 in NYC.  The Municipal Art Society is the city organizer for New York City's Jane's Walks, which are held annually in cities all over the world.  Below is the link to the Inwood walk on the MAS site:

Who was Jane Jacobs? MAS:
"She was an urban activist, thinker, and writer. Though she did not have formal training as an urban planner, her work was fueled by a deep love for cities and the people who live in them. Her approach to urban planning—based on observation and pedestrian experience rather than theoretical principles—was radical during an age when top-down planning was the status quo.
What is she famous for? Jane became the voice of the opposition to urban renewal and “slum clearance” planning practices that were popular in cities during the 1960s.
She organized a grassroots effort to thwart Robert Moses’s proposed “Lower Manhattan Expressway” project, which was set to destroy the historic fabric of SoHo and Greenwich Village.
In 1961, she published her most influential book, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities."

Who was Robert Moses?:
Robert Moses as remembered today needs no introduction (see comments above). However in 1936, the American Scenic & Historic Preservation Society gave Moses the prestigious Cornelius Armory Pugsley [gold] Medal for work he had accomplished on parkways and in parks up to that date. The Art Deco era improvement in Inwood begun under Moses that very year was completed by WPA workers, architects, landscape architects, and engineers who designed and constructed parkway and parkland features in relation to historic roads or pathways and the last remaining natural landscape of Manhattan Island. Many features of the 1930s improvement and many related surrounding Art Deco era residential and commercial buildings are still extant in Inwood.  

Who is the MAS? MAS:
"The MAS advocates for a more livable city. Through policy reports and public programs, we work to protect the best of New York’s existing landscape, from landmarks and historic districts to public open spaces. With visionary initiatives like the Alliance for a New Penn Station, MAS also helps shape thoughtful planning and design for New York’s future.  MAS became the New York City organizer for Jane’s Walk in 2011.  MAS is committed to highlighting the importance of Jane Jacob’s legacy year-round. Her legacy inspires our community-based planning work, such as our popular Livable Neighborhoods Program."

Please note: This Jane's Walk is initiated by members of Volunteers for Isham Park who will meet up with members of Transportation Alternatives. Co-sponsored by the Historic Districts Council who in 2011 selected Inwood as one of the HDC's first "Six to Celebrate" communities in NYC.

Who is Transportation Alternatives? TA:

To see all MAS organized Jane's Walks in NYC for 2016 go to:

Friday, April 15, 2016

Please sign this Inwood Quality of Life petition!

Please sign this petition intended to preserve Inwood and Washington Heights' quality of life, opposing the two tall tower developments proposed for 4650 (corner of Sherman Avenue) and 4566 Broadway (corner of Nagle Avenue) across from Scenic Landmark Ft. Tryon Park and the Cloisters Museum!

Thank you to Susan Mathisen and the Historic Districts Council for posting this petition and link on the Facebook page: Inwood Preservation.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dutchman's Breeches

These little guys are in bloom in Inwood Hill Park.  They are almost invisible, so look carefully for them.

Almost a whole year has passed since we have added to this blog. This image is again not of Isham Park which is very beautiful in spring as well.

But these are so very special and are only around for a short time, so wanted to alert anyone interested to see them asap...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Walk the Heights in Manhattan"

Bolton Road entrance to Inwood Hill Park 
Nancy Bruning ( is leading a Jane's Walk for the Municipal Art Society this Sunday afternoon, May 3rd beginning 3:00pm at the south entrance to the Heather Garden in Fort Tryon Park, titled:
"Walk the Heights in Manhattan"

The walk will begin in Ft. Tryon Park with Nancy as leader and guide, but when it arrives at the top edge of the park at Dyckman at about 4:00pm, the tour will cross the street, stopping at the Payson Playground, before continuing into Inwood Hill Park with Pat Courtney joining Nancy as the local Inwood Hill and Isham Park guide.    

The topic in Inwood Hill and Isham Parks will be evidence of the late 1930s WPA era design in these two geographically and historically linked parks at the northern tip of Manhattan Island.  

The walk will continue through Inwood Hill Park and then go on to the top of Isham Park before descending to the new Muscota Marsh at the corner of West 218th Street and Indian Road.  This is an ambitious walk in length; selected paths are moderately challenging with a few up-hill, including a few steps.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fall colors in Isham

The memorial terrace in Isham Park. 
Fours years have passed since VIP started this border garden
with direction from Parks Gardener Dorothy Rowan and
assistance from NYC Parks and the Partnerships for Parks.
Fall this year has been slow and dry and has created a burnished effect in foliage and grass.  Not as technicolor as some years, but very beautiful even so.  No two years are alike in the park; each has its own special quality.