There’s too much to see in New York. Too many parks. Too many museums. Too historic homes and landmarks. Too much. Honestly you can barely walk a foot without passing by a place that some famous, legendary person did something in: eat, sleep, cough, get drunk, speak for 5 seconds.
New York is so much bigger than just central Manhattan that you could spend a lifetime here and not see it all–never getting anywhere close to crossing some must-see places off your list. My little journey to Washington Heights the other weekend had the satisfaction of crossing not one, not two, but three items off my bucket list. That’s a big deal when you think how far it is from my bed in Brooklyn and how easy it is as an adult to spend your Saturdays in PJs watching Netflix. The first item was High Bridge (which I discuss in a previous post). The other two are far lesser known places: the Morris-Jumel Mansion and Sylvan Terrace.
Neither of these are places you’d necessarily you expect people to flock to, but they’re old and history and pretty to look at, even just for a few minutes.
- The Morris-Jumel Mansion–I was only ever interested in this home because the gardens always seemed pretty in pictures. We didn’t tour the inside of the home, which served as Headquarters during the Revolutionary War and the residence of Eliza Jumel who married the infamous Aaron Burr. (Ms. Jumel was apparently famous in her own right during her lifetime, even described as colorful and eccentric which for a woman in the 1700s suggests she was rather impressive).
- Sylvan Terrace is right next to the mansion. It’s a quaint series of colorful, wooden row houses built in the 1880s, that look almost like something out of Germany or just about anywhere in Europe. Today, these small (and apparently expensive) townhouses sit on an unmapped, cobblestone street. Finding anything on the history of the row homes hasn’t proved very fruitful, but one thing is for sure, they’re fairly pristine given their age and they feel like a world away from the rest of the City.
Moral of the story: See what you can in New York. Even if its small and strange. Even if its miles away. Even if it’s on no one else’s list. Just explore. And, enjoy exploring. Because even though it can be overwhelming and daunting at times, there is too much to see to stay indoors all the time.