J. Hood Wright Park

J. Hood Wright Park

J. Hood Wright Park is a rural oasis of absolute bliss, peace, and tranquility. One of many great parks in Washington Heights, it offers scenic views to the George Washington Bridge, the Hudson River, and the neighboring state of New Jersey. Enjoy a respite from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple and discover the park’s history by reading below.

Hours and Location

J. Hood Wright Park is open from 8am to 11pm every day of the week. It is located between 173rd Street and 176th Street and from Fort Washington Avenue to Haven Avenue.

Background

The park is named after philanthropist J. Hood Wright. He was a successful businessman and banker who worked in finance during the late 1800’s. Wright was originally from Philadelphia and later moved to a mansion in the Washington Heights area. The mansion was located at the intersection between 175th Street and Haven Avenue.

During his lifetime, he made contributions towards the New York Public Library branch in the neighborhood. He helped the library reject its subscription system in favor of a free membership program. As a result, this made the library accessible to whoever wished to use its resources. Wright’s also fondly remembered for helping fund a hospital in the Manhatttanville district of NYC.

If you look carefully, you’ll notice a plaque honoring Wright by the entrance of the park. It honors and explains the vital role he had in revitalizing the neighborhood. Wright was an important member of the community who was dedicated to raising the quality standards of life.

The land the park is sits on was developed in 1925. This was the year the City of New York decided to install a park and a playground in the area. There weren’t many options for residents of the neighborhood to enjoy a bit of outdoor recreation at the time. They thought it would be a rather good idea to give residents a place where they could socialize and form a community.

Things to do

The park is home to a recreation center featuring a bunch of amenities and facilities. It has a multipurpose room where visitors can play board games and partake in other activities. There’s a computer resource center, a game room, a kitchen, a pool table, a library, etc… The staff organizes a series of activities that rotate and change schedule year-round.

Some of these guided classes include Kids Karaoke, Beginners Workout, Billiards, Table Tennis, Chess, Latin Dance, Zumba, and Strength Training for Adults and Seniors. Each class lasts one hour or an hour and a half. They are open to members of all ages and fitness levels.

The big playground for kids and toddlers has tons of features that will keep them entertained for hours. There’s a jungle gym with horizontal ladders and bars, swings, see-saws, and a sandbox. There are also a bunch of athletic facilities that the older kids can enjoy. These  facilities include basketball, baseball, volleyball, and handball courts.

Bring the dog

The dog park at J. Hood Wright is kept clean and owners enjoy the eight benches conveniently located around it. The park offers a water fountain for dogs and has disposal bags available for those owners who’ve left them at home. The dogs enjoy the expansive space where they can freely play and socialize with their other furry friends.

The park is always booming with wildlife. Falcons have been spotted before and flowers such as tulips are beautiful to watch blossom in the spring. The fitness path is 195 yards long and runners can do 9 laps per mile.

If none of the activities listed above suit your needs, you can always take the initiative and do your own thing. For example, you could bring your own mat and practice yoga by the lawn. You could bring a book and read under the shade of a tree. Or you could cook up a bbq for some friends or family and host a fun weekend outing. The options are endless!

J. Hood Wright Park is home to a marvelous work of art created by none other than Terry Fugate-Wilcox. The sculpture he designed is called 3000 A.D. Diffusion Piece and debuted in 1974. It’s one of the best examples of minimalist art currently displayed in the city. The sculpture stands tall at 36 foot and is expected to diffuse – literally – in the year 3000.

The park’s size encompasses 6.7 acres in total. Washington Heights is privileged due to having such a large lot of land devoted for public use. Friends of J. Hood Wright Park, a neighborhood organization, continues to support the park and is dedicated to its improvement.

J. Hood Wright Park’s Google score: 4.5 based on 79 reviews

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Edgar Catasus

Edgar is a a film fanatic, a food lover, and an Upper West Side enthusiast. After working in PR and marketing in Chicago, he is pursuing his dream of becoming a writer. He loves photography and on his spare time you can find him hiking or biking the great outdoors (while also snapping some pretty awesome Instagram pics!).

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