Inwood Hill Park Garden Space

218 St
New York
NY 10034

Inwood Hill Park Garden Space

GardenPark/Recreation Area

Overview

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The garden space is in Inwood Hill Park, one of New York City’s oldest and largest parks. It is a sprawling natural space engulfing the northwestern-most tip of Manhattan island, bordered by the Hudson River on its west side and the Spuyten Duyvil Creek on its north. To its south is the Inwood neighborhood, part of the urban suburbs. The area is filled with low buildings, containing both residential apartments, assorted stores, and a couple of schools. To the southwest of the park is the Dyckman Street Station, and to the south is the 207 St Station, both leading to the A line. To the southeast is the 215 St Station leading to the 1 line.

The park contains the last natural forest and salt marsh in Manhattan. Much of the park is made up of long, winding hiking trails going through expansive woods. There are large, open areas for sports and playgrounds and along bodies of water. Deeper into the park, there are historical landmarks like Fort Cock Hill, a military fortification built by the continental army in the 18th century during the Revolutionary War. To the south of the fort is Shorakkopoch Rock, a boulder marking where the largest tulip tree in Manhattan once stood. Allegedly, this is where Peter Minuit purchased the land from the Native Americans in 1626. Spots like these that illuminate Manhattan’s past litter the park and decorate its hiking trails, showing how Inwood Hill Park is a place of preservation, of both natural life and American history.

Like the park itself, the Inwood Hill Park Garden Space upholds the same mission. It is located in the park’s eastern peninsula going into Spuyten Duyvil Creek. The garden houses a traditional Native American wigwam and two plots of land for crops. One plot is seeded with the “Three Sisters,” or the three main agricultural plants of the Native Americans: squash, maize, and beans. The other is a pollinator garden, seeded with plants to attract pollinators, such as milkweed for monarch butterflies. Through these features, the garden space seeks to preserve parts of Native American culture and create a space for its education.

However, the garden space has sustained some damage after Hurricane Sandy. The area is undergoing construction, and the plants are currently in a haphazard condition. The park itself is faring well, so some regular maintenance should be enough to preserve its health: removing litter, weeding and checking on the plants, and cleaning up after construction. To do this, there are occasional opportunities posted on both nycservice.org and newyorkcares.org for regular upkeep duties. Personal projects can also be started at the City Parks Foundation site, with their “It’s My Park” program.

The Inwood Hill Garden Space is an interesting site: it is connected to a large network of hiking trails going through hilly terrain, often lacking the presence of other people. The garden, damaged and undergoing repairs, is an interesting look into how parks rebuild themselves after destruction. By looking at both the garden and the park it lives in, it is clear how much human work it takes to keep a green space natural.

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19adurrani May 2018 "it was a lot of hands on and out door learning in a very beautiful and serene area which taught me about parks and conservation and their importance"

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