Exploring Manhattan: Little Red Lighthouse

Exploring Manhattan: Little Red Lighthouse

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Built in 1921, decommissioned in 1932, originally known as Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse. It stands 28 feet above high water and had a candlepower of 10. Immortalized in the children’s book “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge” by Hildegarde H Swift, published in 1942. It is the last surviving lighthouse on Manhattan Island.

The Little Red Lighthouse sits right below the George Washington Bridge. Other than the zooming traffic overhead, you don’t really feel like you’re in New York. It’s set on the Hudson River, there are some large boulders to sit on, and a picnic area in a small field. It is along the Westside Greenway, which is a beautiful walk or bike ride. Pack a small lunch or bring a book and just relax while visiting. There isn’t too much to do once you’re there. But it is a pleasant excursion and a nice time.

You can go up inside it! Once a month in the summer/fall, they open the lighthouse up to the public. You can go inside and walk up to the top. I haven’t done this but it sounds neat. Your next chance to go up into the lighthouse is June 6th. You can view more Lighthouse events on the NYC Parks site.


Several years ago, I biked from my UWS apartment to the lighthouse. It was an easy ride on the paved greenway and wasn’t too far. I relaxed at the lighthouse then just biked back. It was a nice afternoon jaunt. My second visit to the lighthouse was just last weekend. It is a break-stop on the great saunter walk. You can take a stretch break, eat a snack, then get ready to go up the hills in Inwood.

I’m always looking for places in the city that don’t quite feel like the city. Here you have the wooded environment of the greenway, plus the river, and isolation from the main streets of Washington Heights. Unfortunately, there is the massive structure of the GWB over your head. But, all in all, it’s a pretty easy escape.

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