Updated: May 1, 2019
Great views, a cold beer and Kimchi await.
1. Get thee to the NY side of the George Washington Bridge via:
-181st Street Subway Station via the 1 train: the station is located 120 ft below ground so the only way to exit is via elevator (and the MTA has been nice enough to hire elevator operators), so when to doors open just get on and let the MTA take it from there.
-175th Street Subway Station via the A train: a tunnel connects to the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal.
-Recommend you take the 1 train there and the A train back.
2. El Panadero Bakery (translation: "The Baker Bakery"): Good place for a coffee or cortado and a Tres Leche cake. Say "hola" to the señoritas behind the counter - they'll love you for it. Dinero efectivo only.
3. The George Washington Bridge: When completed in 1931 the "GW" was the longest suspension bridge in the world (until superseded by the Golden Gate Bridge). The suspension towers were originally to be clad in concrete or granite, but were left unclad due to cost (If you ask me and Le Corbusier, it looks just fine). The lower deck was only completed in 1962.
-Walk west on 179th street until you reach the southern sidewalk (the northern sidewalk is permanently closed) entrance just past Cabrini Blvd (use google maps)
-refer to it as the "GW" - just like a real New Yawker.
-if you look north from the GW, you can see the Tappan Zee Bridge
-as the GW is one of the most frequent sites in NYC for suicides, protective netting has been installed along the sidewalks (12 deaths in 2016)
-on the Ft Lee side there is a modest memorial to P.O. Bruce Reynolds who was stationed at the bridge on Sep 11, 2001. He rushed to the World Trade Center where he was last seen entering Two World Trade Center.
4. Fort Lee Historical Park: After the Battle of Long Island and Battle of White Plains, Washington retreated to New Jersey, leaving Fort Washington (in The Bronx, a few blocks north of the GW) and Fort Lee (in New Jersey) to defend the Hudson River. After the fall of Fort Washington to the British and the subsequent crossing of the British Army into New Jersey north of Fort Lee, Washington evacuated the fort and retreated south. Thomas Paine wrote of this episode - "these are the times that try men's souls".
-There are two overlooks on the north end of the park.
-The Visitor Center while not overwhelming gives a good overview of the events leading up to Washington's retreat.
5. After crossing the GW, take a break, you've earned it:
- Beer at the New York Wing Factory: Beer pickings are slim in Ft. Lee, this is your best option for a beer only. A rainbow of beers available from Coors Light to Stella Artois to Ommegang Rare Vos. Raise a toast to who else . . . George Washington!
-Food at the Soft Tofu Restaurant: I know what you're thinking, is that really the name? Well it also goes by So Kong Dong, does that make it sound any better? Whatever you want to call it, get the Soft Tofu Stew and the Korean Short Ribs (that's what Tony Bourdain did at minute 32:30). Everything comes with an order of kimchi on the side. While the efficient service is not friendly, it's not unfriendly (my wife said it reminded her of Prague). Remember though, you came here for the food.
*Hello in Korean is pronounced “ahn-yong hah-say-yoh”.
*Ft Lee and the surrounding area has the highest percentage of Koreans anywhere in the US. Why? I have no idea.
- After Dinner Drink at the City Perch Bar + Kitchen: It's a nice place, if pricey. Get a Cointreu on the Rocks for $10. (cause that's what I did).
8. Back across the GW. Try and time it so it's sunset.