One thing I love about New York is that the opportunity for adventuring is endless. I’ve been living in New York City for nearly three years, yet there’s still so little of the city I’ve actually seen. There are so many cool bars and restaurants in SoHo, Lower East Side (LES), and Williamsburg that it’s easy to forget how many other areas there are to see in New York. Well, I say enough of that! The time for adventuring has commenced. I’ve decided to explore all New York City has to offer by spending a day sightseeing each of the neighborhoods and discovering their unique personalities and offerings. I couldn’t think of a better place to start my adventuring than in my own backyard: the Fort George and the Hudson Heights area.
Fort George is an area near the tip top of Manhattan, above Washington Heights and below Inwood. What initially drew me to the area was the beautiful parks. It’s hard to believe that this much greenery could exist in Manhattan outside of Central Park, but it does. And with its rolling hills, stone walls and elaborate castles, Fort George seems like a place from another world far, far away from the urban streets of Manhattan. But it’s not just the geographical makeup of Fort George that makes it exceptional, the local shops, bars, and eateries make it worth visiting as well.
Having lived in Fort George for nearly a year, I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t explored all the area has to offer. So, I decided to go out on a ME date and discover the best of Fort George and Hudson Heights.
First, let me say how nice it is to go on a ME date. I tend to get wrapped up in the idea of companionship and I forget how much I enjoy my own company.
Just Do It: Make a promise to treat yourself to a YOU date each month, even if it’s only for an hour or two. Stop making excuses, you deserve it!
Here’s how I spent my Me date in Fort George and Hudson Heights
Buddha Beer Bar
I started off by visiting the Buddha Beer Bar, which no joke has the best wings in New York City. (Happy to be proven wrong if you have a recommendation) I love wings; I’ve tried a lot of them. Nothing has even come close to these. What’s different about them? For one, they offer grilled wings, which is somehow still a rarity. Maybe I got spoiled as a kid on my dad’s grilled wings, but this style of wing is truly the best. Plus, Buddha Beer Bar has finger lickin’ good sauces. My favorites are Spicy Chili Garlic, House Hot, and Garlic Parmesan. Besides their tasty wings, Buddha Beer Bar has an awesome beer selection with rotating taps. Also, they have a fabulous brunch, which includes one entrée and bottomless drinks for $27. This alone is worth making the trip to Fort George.
After I enjoyed a craft beer and a basket of wings, I decided to go for a coffee at Fort George’s current Social Hotspot:
Rue La Rue Café
Rue La Rue Café is an homage to all things Golden Girls. As soon as you walk in it’s like you’re transported into that famous Florida living room with your old friends. Among the Golden goods, you’ll find a brew for each Golden Girl and if you have a sweet tooth you’ll finally get to try those amazing desserts that were always being baked on the show! While enjoying your treats, sit down and reminisce about the good ol’ days with back-to-back episodes of The Golden Girls on a big screen. If that’s still not enough Golden Girls fun for one afternoon, walk around and admire the beautiful clothing once worn by Rue McClanahan who played the wickedly charming Blanche Devereaux on the show.
Obviously, if you’re a fan The Golden Girls this place is a must. If you’re a coffee lover this place is also a must because it serves one of the best cold brews I’ve ever had.
I got my cold brew to-go and headed for the beautiful treasure chest hiding in upper Manhattan – Fort Tryon Park.
Fort Tryon Park
I love Fort Tryon Park. I honestly visit this park three times a day. Sure, I have two dogs that need to be walked and the park is conveniently located across the street from my apartment. But honestly, even without the girls, I would still make an effort to visit this park daily. Fort Tryon is filled with 8 miles of beautiful walking paths, Rolling Meadows, and stone walls that make you feel like you’re wandering through a labyrinth. Fort Tryon, which was a gift to the city from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., sits high on a cliff offering some gorgeous views of the city. The fun doesn’t stop there; Fort Tryon also has a wonderful dog park, the breathtaking Heather Gardens, and this park happens to be the flower capital of Manhattan.
If you’re an artist this is the perfect spot for inspiration. If you’re an overworked New Yorker this is the perfect place to go and escape the noise of the city. And, if you appreciate great art then this is the perfect place to go because it is also home of The Cloisters.
With my cold brew in hand, I took in the beautiful sights of Fort Tryon Park. I strolled up the stone walled paths and admired the beautiful flowers in the Heather Gardens, and then I came upon a beautiful castle.
The Cloisters is one of the coolest museums in New York City. This branch of The Met explores the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe. Having lived across the street from this museum for nearly a year, I’d stupidly never gone into this medieval castle for a visit. How foolish. What’s great about The Cloisters and the various branches of The Met is that admission is donation based. In other words, art doesn’t discriminate against Ramen Holiday budgets. Give what you can, but if you can’t handle the $25 suggested donation, you won’t be turned away.
Once I was in, I took my time exploring the paintings, sculptures, and tapestries displayed. They were all incredible, especially if the medieval times interest you as much as it does me. What I really fell in love with were the incredible gardens. They’re picturesque, but also the ideal spot to bring a book or notebook. Just sit back and let the history and creativity around completely envelop you.
By the time I finished exploring The Cloister’s my stomach was starting to rumble. This led to my final stop on my Fort George Adventure, Bodega Pizza.
I’d walked by Bodega Pizza at least a hundred times without ever going in. I 100% regret that decision. This Italian style pizzeria is not only a great deal, $10 a pie if you go at Happy Hour. (They have happy hour every day.) That’s just economic details. Let’s talk taste – OMG! I didn’t want to stop eating. Every bite was bursting with fresh flavors. You don’t even need to go fancy with toppings, I had the Margarita Pizza and it may’ve been the best decision I made all day.
What goes best with pizza? That’s right, cold beer! Bodega Pizza has a great draft beer selection and surprise, surprise: great happy hour prices! Food and drinks aside, you should check this place out for the coolness factor alone. (See my pics below.) Everything about this place gets a 10 in my book. I’ll definitely be back for many more happy hours.
Wobbling home after my pizza, I was so impressed by just how awesome my neighborhood is. This is just a tiny piece of New York that gets overlooked daily because it’s outside the branded area of Manhattan. This adventure reconfirmed how much coolness New York has to offer and how much exploring I have ahead of me!