Just about the same time as our ClockTower, 1886-87, J.P.Morgan was purchasing railroads.
The New York & Northern Railway from Van Cortlandt (now our park) up through Yonkers had gone into receivership, so he purchased it and reorganized as the New York & Putnam Railroad, then leased it back to NY Central.
The “Old Put” as the commuters called it ran 23 stations from the Bronx to Brewster for almost a century before it shut down in 1958.
The abandoned road bed still lays in muddy ruts through the Van Cortlandt Park until it gets to the Westchester County line.
Then it magically turns to a smooth, asphalt ribbon for 14 miles, all the way up to Elmsford, NY.
The “South County Trailway” for runners and bicycles was begun in the 1990’s, and was just completed in 2011.
Both the Saw Mill Parkway and the NYS Thruway take advantage of the winding natural terrain, as did the railroad, so the hum of traffic through the trees is rarely far away.
But the trees and vines are thick and green and there’s wildlife everywhere.
In the air we saw hawks and barn swallows, a pair of mourning doves, red winged blackbirds and a bright yellow goldfinch.
In the underbrush we saw black squirrels and grey, bunnies and chips are everywhere, both livemunks and deadmunks. Squashed on the trail. Alas.
But in the lakes we saw fish and a turtle. :-)
Bicyclists are all around and some are professionally fast.
But the ride is smooth and wonderful for us
slowpoke weekenders, too.
Civilization intrudes now and then but when we reached Elmsford, the suburbs are quite a contrast.
With some food and a rest and lots of water, the return trip was relaxing and passed quickly.
Out by 9am and safely home by 5:30.
This is a great trip, well over 30 miles and we were tired.
But you should try it. Get a bike. It’s Summer.
C'mon baby! Do the low commotion.