Pelham Bay Park - Finding Split Rock
Bronx Travel Blog› entry 731 of 948 › view all entries
The work week after returning from Alaska worked out very well. It looked like I almost had no jetlag at all. In the weekend, however, I had to pay heavily. I felt very tired and the thing I wanted to do most was staying in bed all day.
Of course that is no good, besides that I was curious if my car had survived hurricane Irene. So, I headed out to The Bronx to have a look and decided to go to Pelham Bay Park, the largest park of the city. I had been in Pelham Bay Park several times for short visits and I originally intended to pick up some exploring around Orchard Beach where I had been in July last year.
During its transport about 10,000 years ago, the stone was split by the forces of the ice creating a crevice broad enough to fit a human. Legends claim that the Puritan Anne Hutchinson, at that time the leader of a dissident church discussion group, was killed at this rock by the Siwanoy Indian tribe in 1643. The Siwanoy were treated badly by the Dutch who ruled the area at that time, and mistakenly thought Hutchinson was Dutch. Other stories state that her daughter Suzanna, the only one of the family to survive the attack, was the one who hid in the crevice while the rest of the family was slaughtered in their house.
In the end it was the rock that almost died. In 1950 the rock was almost dynamited to make space for the Interstate 95 being built. The Bronx Historical Society, founded by Dr. Theodore Kazimiroff, persuaded the planners of I95 to move the planned road slightly to the north. At that time the Hutchinson River Parkway was already almost touching the west side of the stone. The result now is that the stone still exists but is locked in on a tiny "island", surrounded by heavy traffic.
My first effort to reach the stone was following the Split Rock Trail, a hike route that is prominently listed on a map on the NYC Parks website.
Fortunately there was also a bridle-path that seemed to go into the same direction. I chose to follow that path. It went next to the huge golf terrain and while I hiked I continuously found lost golf balls. It was a noisy hike, first the Hutchinson River Parkway contributed its share of noise, later the I95 added even more.
In order to get to the rock I had to cross the connector road between the parkway and the I95. Fortunately the connector is straight and long so I had enough oversight to select a crossing moment. The stone lies deserted, a lot of trash around it. I stepped into the crevice and tried to imagine how silent and clean it must have been in the time of Anne Hutchinson.
The reminder of my hike was not easy because everywhere I went, the assigned hike trails were completely overgrown. So far my idea of an easy hike. At least the yield of the golf ball project was 26. I gave them to my colleague Stuart, an avid golfer.
More pictures below!