Tucked away under the George Washington Bridge, is a little know secret: The Little Red Lighthouse. If you love children’s books you’ve probably heard of it thanks to The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge, but otherwise you probably didn’t know it existed.
It’s not, shall we say, easy to get to, especially if you live in another borough or below 59th street. Hopping on the A, you’ll likely ride for about an hour before getting off at 181st street and journeying West to the Hudson. It gets a bit tricky once you get to Riverside Drive–a wrong turn has you wandering aimlessly beneath an underpass with no way get over the parkway–but once you find the pedestrian overpass it’s a steady trek along and down a winding, and at times, never ending path. And, more than once you stop and think to yourself is all of this worth it for one little red lighthouse that no one else knows about. But, it is worth it.
Like so many other things you come across in New York City, it’s bizarre and unique and it has a great history. The tiny little lighthouse was originally a native of New Jersey, but was moved in the 1920s as part of efforts to improve navigation along the Hudson River. When the George Washington Bridge was built in the ’30s, right over it, it basically made the lighthouse obsolete. Original plans threatened to tear it down, but–like so many other old buildings and architecture in New York–it was saved through public outcry and local activism. It was added to the National Historic Registry and stands today as a memento of old times.
It may be out of the way, but if you’re ever wandering the hilly streets of Washington Heights, I recommend taking a stroll and seeing for yourself the Little Red Lighthouse under the Great Grey Bridge.