Bike To: Inwood Park & The Cloisters for the best empanadas and wraps in town

Sunday, October 18, 2009
By steven
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The northernmost tip of Manhattan is hardly level ground to walk on. At the top of Fort Tryon Park is The Cloisters, a gothic abbey made from 5 dissembled European buildings. Up in the hills of the adjacent Inwood Hill Park, hike through Manhattan’s only remaining native forest with dropping views of the Hudson, walk under a giant bridge, watch trains cut along the river bend. And if you’re hungry- Noemi’s has the best empanadas and salad wraps in town! (Update 2012: Ugh Sorry, Noemi’s has closed down but a possible alternate is Elsa La Reina Del Chicharron. Full Yelp restaurant options for Inwood here. However, I would pass on the first 9 options they list for you. I would go for #10 and onto page 2.)

The Cloisters


What to see at the Cloisters:

The Cloisters is the branch of the Met Museum is dedicated to the art and architecture of the middle ages; similarly, admission is by suggested donation which is great. The views are enticing: the windows at the garden and courtyard, the dropping staircases, and art including the unicorn tapestries and the reliquaries (iconic statues containing bone matter of saints).

More info:

The Recommended Route from Central Manhattan to Fort Tryon Park / The Cloisters:

The Cloisters

1. Take West Side Hwy bike path to Riverside Drive. (Distance markers: At 145th St, you’ll cross back under the highway to the riverfront and will be on the Ft Washington Park Bicycle Trail. George Washington Bridge = 179th St. Riverside Dr = 207th St.)

2. Bike on Riverside Dr for 4 blocks. Enter at Inwood Plaza on your right (where Riverside Dr meets Dyckman or Broadway). Lock bike on street (recommended), or carry it to top and lock it around the museum lot.

3. Budget 1-1.5 hrs to explore the Cloisters. You’ll probably be hungry afterward – so grab a bite before heading to Inwood Park just a few blocks down.

4. Exit museum on north end (parking lot side) to Riverside Drive. If you end up on Broadway (east exit), walk with park on your left so you head north back to Inwood Plaza.

Total Biking Time: ~2 hrs from SoHo / 1 hr from Central Park Columbus Circle
Total Biking Distance:14 miles from SoHo / 7.5 miles from Central Park Columbus Circle


Lunch @ Noemi’s Salad and Juice Bar (225 Dyckman St btw Seaman and Broadway):

Wow, somebody must’ve had a field day naming those two streets.
Noemi’s has brightly colored walls and small tables at the front. The prices are great for fresh made to order service:
$7 – wraps, sandwich, or salad
$3 – Empanada
$3.50 – Desserts
$5 – Smoothies or Yogurt Parfaits
$1.50-2 – Drinks
$6 – Brunch

What we ordered and loved:
-Spinach w/ Manchengo Cheese empanada (which had some sweet raisins to balance the flavor)
-We both got the Guava and Cream Cheese empanada for dessert (like a tropical apple pie!!)
-Chicken salad wrap, perhaps the best in the country, fresh and tangy.


Exploring Inwood Hill Park:

1. From lunch, head west on Dyckman St to Payson, then turn right. Park is on left, enter after passing playground.

2. Simple trail to riverfront clearing: stay to your left at any fork in road until you reach the top of park (~15 mins). A small clearing will be on your left marked by a small boulder. Squeeze around boulder for an unblocked view of the Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades. However, the whiz cars on the expressway below was annoying.

3. Continue on this trail, and you’ll come to the towering base of the expressway bridge. It’s really pretty, and you’ll also see the Metro North rounding a bend in the hills on the other side of the river.

4. Turn R and walk/bike with water on your left. This is the bracken water (half salt/half freshwater) that separates Manhattan from the Bronx.

5. BIKE HOME: Park exits at 218th St. R @ Broadway and head south to Riverside. R turn on Riverside to waterfront bike path and turn left to go south.



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