There’s old New York, and then there’s old New York. Inwood Hill Park is a living piece of old New York. Evidence of its prehistoric roots exists as dramatic caves, valleys, and ridges left as the result of shifting glaciers. Evidence of its uninhabited state afterward remains as its forest and salt marsh (the last natural one in Manhattan), and evidence of its use by Native Americans in the 17th century continues to be discovered. Much has occurred on the land that now composes Inwood Hill Park since the arrival of European colonists in the 17th and 18th centuries, but luckily, most of the park was largely untouched by the wars and development that took place.
The park continues to honor and cultivate its environment. In 2002, the Urban Park Rangers launched a five-year bald eagle release project in the park, in hopes of re-introducing the bird species to New York City. In the summer of 2007, the park’s Dyckman Marina was added to New York State’s Hudson River Greenway Water Trail, a project aimed at reacquainting city dwellers with natural bodies of water and encouraging citizen stewardship. Similarly, a hiking trail and the Hudson River Bike Trail offer visitors chances to appreciate large stretches of the park’s natural beauty in an environmentally friendly manner.
Also importantly, the park manages to present modern conveniences like athletic fields, playgrounds, dog runs, and a barbecue area, in harmony with its natural assets. The Park stands as a functional, beautiful space, waiting to be appreciated and used.