Manhattan’s mighty towers often soar above much humbler structures, creating some of the city’s many visual treats.
Nowhere is this juxtaposition more endearing than on the banks of the Hudson River at 178th Street, where the Little Red Lighthouse stands modestly but proudly in the shadows of the steel girders and concrete abutments of the George Washington Bridge. Both structures are beloved New York landmarks, though the lighthouse that once guided boat traffic up and down the river has not flashed its beacon since the bridge was completed in 1931. You can tour the lighthouse on some weekends from spring through fall, and any youngster who has read The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge will want to do so. In the 1942 classic the lighthouse becomes convinced it is no longer needed when a beacon begins flashing atop the bridge, but comes to the rescue one foggy night to warn boats away from the rocks, proving that the big and the small are both important.
You can walk to New Jersey and back across the 600ft-high, 4,750ft-long George Washington Bridge on a walkway elevated more than 200ft above the river. The trek is especially rewarding on a clear day, when you can see south to the city skyline and way upriver to the forested hills that cradle the Hudson Valley. You can enter the walkway from Fort Washington Avenue and 178th Street. To reach the lighthouse, follow the well-marked path from Lafayette Street and 181st Street.