The Viele Map

Created by Egbert L. Viele in 1865, the Sanitary and Topographical Map of the City and Island of New York (aka the Viele map), shows the pre-grid, natural state of the island, including some 500 hills, 88 miles of streams, 21 ponds and 300 springs.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Inwood Park Walk (pt. 2) & the Columbia “C” Explained

Here’s the rest of Monday’s walk through Inwood Park, Manhattan’s last vestige of primeval forest.  Not a lot of history discussed in this post, just pictures.

A quick recap…this is the side of the park I entered through (on the west side of the Amtrak rails, and the West Side Highway)…IMG_0805  
In the summers lots of soccer, little league, and barbeques.  The Manhattan side tower of the George Washington Bridge in the distance….
To get into the main park, the pedestrian bridge takes you over the Amtrak rails….
Then this tunnel takes you under the southbound Henry Hudson Parkway (past The Tuft’s of Flowers mosaic from the last post)….
A little farther along up a hill, there’s another tunnel that takes you under the northbound Henry Hudson Parkway, and you come out here…. See the cars? They’re doing about 75 mph.  The lamp posts are from the 1930s, installed during WPA (New Deal) projects…
A repeat picture from the last post, just because it’s so Planet of the Apes-like to see lamp posts like this…can you see both of them?
Most of the paths are narrower than this, and not as well defined.  I went the other way, and climbed more hill…
From the hilltop, this is the clearest view you can get of the Cloister tower…
And after a short walk farther along the hilltop, this…
There are no really old trees surrounding this overlook, it must have once provided an unobstructed view. By the trampled leaves, it looks like people still find it though.
It seems they expected quite a number of people back then…Look to the far left, I thought that was another entrance to the overlook.
…obviously windstorm damage…
If you’ve spent any time in a car in the metropolitan area, the radio always reported traffic conditions “under the apartments.”  Those are them…  IMG_0835
…and a less obstructed view of the Cloister tower…
Leaving the overlook and continuing down the other side, just a few feet away…this really is Manhattan….
And then a real mystery….
And this….
Continuing over the crest…
…and along the path…
The clearest view I could get looking east from this altitude…. The Broadway Bridge leading to Riverdale (the Bronx) is the bluish metal structure to the left of the tree.  The Tracey Towers, the tallest buildings in the Bronx (I think still), are the twin buildings in the distance.  The white dome through the thicket are tennis courts across the Harlem River in Riverdale.
And one lone jogger passed by….
And the Columbia “C” from high above.  Painted by Columbia students in the 50s. Today I learned why it’s there!
But that’s in a bit.  First there’s this…I have no idea. 

Assuming they were never moved, what could this have been a foundation for?  On a less cold day I will go back and do some forensics. That’s a serious foundation slab…if you know, please speak up…..
I took the steep way down…some of these are looking back on my descent…

The path must have once been more manageable, since it leads to these most accommodating stone steps…

At the bottom is this monument…It announces this spot as where Peter Minuit “bought” Mannahatta for sharp edged metal tools (and of course, some beads). There’s another monument at the Battery commemorating the same thing.  It very well might have happened in both places, since he dealt with the wrong people the first time. 

The tulip tree is pretty incredible, 1658-1938.  The Wall Street wall was 4 years old when the tulip tree sprouted.  That’s how old my father was when it died.
From the bottom, looking along the last segment of the Harlem River where it meets the Hudson just beyond the Henry Hudson Expressway.
Panning to the right a bit, a lagoon. Those are seagulls, and they’re walking…
Farther to the right, this is mud under a sheen of water…ecosystems don’t get much richer than this…Manhattan’s last salt water marsh.
This how 21st century urbanites enjoy the park…they stay mostly down below…
…and have this view, looking across a lagoon at fjords from Manhattan.  That’s the Spuyten Duyvil train station across the way under the Henry Hudson Bridge.
Just another minute’s walk farther along is Columbia’s Wien stadium.  I thought this was the closest I would be able to get…. (The Broadway Bridge is in the back.)
But the gate was open…(see blog title)
It’s important to pay respect…mutton chops, gilded age…the first wooden stadium and this monument were both erected in 1928…read the bottom: “‘C’ Club”….
From the uppermost seats in Wien Stadium. Now you know why the “C” is where it is….
Five hundred feet later I’m back in the city…The Broadway Bridge, the downtown 1 train passing, buses and cars at all the wrong angles (this is why it’s so easy to skate in the Manhattan, vehicles don’t move.) 
But if I’m going to leave you with that image, I might as well show you a few miles away, a few hours later….Broadway Holiday


  1. Don't need much words when the pictures speak for themselves. Great, thanks for sharing.

  2. It’s hard to come by experienced people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about ... Thanks ....

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