Hudson Heights Weather

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Deer in Northern Manhattan? Maybe if there were fewer unleashed dogs.

I stopped by the Inwood Hill Nature Center on Saturday and had a long chat with a knowledgeable NYC Park Ranger, Gerald "Jerry" Stiegler.  I wanted to know if the urban folklore about deer in northern Manhattan is true.  The answer is, sort of.

According to Ranger Jerry, he and other staff of the Center have spotted deer from time to time.  There was a doe on the fields to the west of the Center in 2010.  And a healthy buck was fatally injured by a car on the Henry Hudson Parkway last year.  Apparently deer can swim rather well and make the trip from Palisades Park across the Hudson River or from Riverdale across the Harlem River.

The biggest deterents to mammals in Inwood Hill Park are, however, dogs rather than cars.  The smell of dogs and their urine repels deer, turkeys, racoons and many other mammals that might normally inhabit large tracts of woods and fields found in Fort Tryon Park and Inwood Hill Park.  Worse, some Inwood dog owners let their dogs off the leash, which allows them to dash off into the woods and disturb and sometimes kill wildlife.  (Ranger Jerry suspects that pit bulls, popular among some Inwood residents, are the biggest offenders.)

Birds fare much better and Inwood Hill Park has healthy populations of hawks, falcons, ducks and even the occasional eagle, which can be seen floating on ice flows this time of year, looking for fish.

So where might a person find these deer?  Ranger Jerry recommends the quieter portions of the park to the west of the highway and near the Amtrak rail lines.

The Inwood Hill Nature Center is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The number is 212-304-2365.  Its a great place for kids.

By:  Chris Rizzo

Photograph of Inwood Hill Nature Center

Wed-Sun 11am-4pm


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  2. Hi, pardon my posting in this spot, but I couldn't find where else to post this question. Thanks for doing this blog. I am new to the neighborhood, and I was wondering if anyone knows about the air quality of Hudson Heights and Fort Tryon? According to this study by New York City's Dept. of Health,
    the area just north of the George Washington Bridge has some of the worst fine particulate matter pollution in the city. When I've visited during the last 2 months, the air has seemed wonderful. Does anyone get asthma from the pollution from the nearby highways? Thanks for any info.

  3. Hi Nancy. I'm an environmental lawyer by trade. The Cross-Bronx Expressway (a/k/a Route 95) is suspected of contributing to higher rates of asthma in the South Bronx and northern Manhattan. So your concern is well-placed.

    That said, I've lived uptown for years and have never found the air quality troublesome. I think the worst impacts are within a few blocks north and south of the Bridge.