The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NYC Podiatrist Recommended Owl’s Head Park Walking Tour

Posted by on Friday, September 8th, 2017

There is still time to take advantage of the nice weather in New York City with a free walking tour. On Saturday, September 9th, the Owl’s Head Park Horticulture Group of the Shore Road Parks Conservancy will host a one-hour walking tour featuring Bay Ridge historian Henry Stewart. The tour begins at the Owl’s Head Park entrance on Colonial Road and 67th Street at high noon. The rain date will be Sunday the 10th—same time, same place. NYC podiatrists say taking regular walking tours is the best way to keep your feet flexible and strong for years to come.

Explore Owl's Head Park with this free walking tour.
Explore Owl’s Head Park with this free walking tour. Image Source: Wikimedia user Jim.henderson.

Discover the Rich History of Owl’s Head Park in Brooklyn

Henry Stewart is the first vice president of the Bay Ridge Historical Society, and he has extensive knowledge of the area. As an accredited writer, editor, and lecturer, you can only imagine the breadth of stories he can tell!

“Owl’s Head Park has a mystical hold over many Bay Ridge residents, one that’s difficult to explain to outsiders,” he explains in Brklynr. “Sure, it’s 24 pleasant acres of woods, hills, playgrounds, curving paths, breathtaking views and a skating ramp, but are they worth a trip on the R train?”

He says that Shore Road Park gets all the street cred as being the park in Bay Ridge, but he adds, “the more time you spend in Owl’s Head, watching sunsets from atop its massive hill or riding Flexible Fliers down it, the more it sticks to you, the more you realize what the neighborhood’s early settlers realized: this is one of the finest pieces of land in Brooklyn.”

On the walking tour, he’s likely to discuss points of interest including:

  • The Nyack Indian settlers
  • Teunis Van Pelt, the first European “land baron” of Owl’s Head
  • Freeman Swaen Janse, who set up his farm in 1680
  • Business owner Eliphalet Williams Bliss
  • The grand summer mansion of Brooklyn Mayor and Congressman Henry C. Murphy, built in 1856
  • Different theories regarding the name “Owl’s Head” and who should receive credit for it
  • A controversial tree-cutting by a man named Van Brunt
  • The carving up of the land into mansions at the end of winding drives and stables
  • The threat from private developers who sought to expand their industries along the park
  • The dithering that led to Owl’s Head Park losing half its land to an industrial park
  • The “Owl’s Head Fiasco” that cost the city $42,000 in 1908
  • Robert Moses, the Parks commissioner, and his influence on the park’s beauty
  • 1970’s “weirdos, hippies, perverts, and gangsters” who frequented the park at night
  • The park’s low point in 1974, when a 17-year-old was shot beside his racing bike on the premises
  • Cleanup done in the 1990’s to cut back on crime and improve the look of the park

“Thanks to its poetic name, its highlands and painterly vistas, its trails, windswept hills and pocket of woodland, the park has enjoyed a mystique not even Shore Road Park can match,” Stewart summarizes.

For more information on the upcoming NYC walking tour, you may email owlsheadvolunteer@earthlink.net or mark your attendance on Facebook. The tour is free, but a courtesy donation of $5 is encouraged.

Owl’s Head Park Crime Dramas

In addition to park-specific histories, Stewart regularly hosts wine events at the Owl’s Head Wine Bar, “telling stories for the R train’s 100th anniversary, discussing the kidnapping of Charley Ross in the 19th century, and hosting regular readings from the Bay Ridge Poets Society.” So you just might hear a few chilling tales of true crime on your walk as well! Afterward, be sure to stop by The Owl’s Head Wine Bar for a drink and a bite to eat while you rest your feet.

Treatment for Sore Feet in NYC Feet

NYC podiatrists at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine urge walkers to stop in to see them if foot pain persists more than five days after a walking tour. Though we’re 45 minutes from Owl’s Head Park, it’s worth the trek up near Central Park to see us. We offer state-of-the-art equipment like pain lasers, platelet rich plasma injections, cryotherapy, ultrasound, in-house orthotics fitting, and a gait analysis center. We find the root cause of foot pain and specialize in conditions like plantar fasciitis, bunions, and tendinitis. Contact us to learn more.

If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.