This was a tough one, but the third try was successful.
The directions seem clear, if a bit cryptic, but they just led no where. There was a black top road (a path actually) just south of the exit of the connector road from the NY State Thruway at 233rd Street, and I measured off the distances but there was nothing but brush and brambles. So I came back and checked on both sides of the connector road (the directions never specified) but found nothing - just gas stations on both sides. The one hard distance was the 105 yards from the connector intersection, so I was stymied.
But something bothered me: the directions said "PARKWAY CONNECTION" but this was the Thruway, not a parkway. Then I Googled "New York Sate Thruway" and found (besides the fact that it's the country's longest toll road) that it was not yet built here in 1952! That means two things: 1) the connector intersection I was looking at is the wrong one and 2) the construction of the Thruway in the late 1950s may well have demolished the mark and the whole area.
But I had two key words: "Parkway" and "Abandoned Aqueduct". I Googled the Mosholu Parkway which is west of the thruway in the park and found it was built in the late 30s. And I just happen to know about Abandoned Aqueducts. The old Croton Aqueduct (built around 1840) passes through the park and parallels the Mosholu in this area. The aqueduct is basicall a very flat, very straight dirt path. I hiked the whole thing from the Croton Dam to the New York Public Library in Manhattan over 30 years ago. If the mark was set on some feature of the aqueduct (and hopefully not obliterated by the Thruway), I could walk the aqueduct and check out every headwall, walled up drain, work entrance, and you-name-it along the route in this section.
So after bagging [url=http://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=ku1145]KU1145[/url], I worked my way along the Henry Hudson Parkway, then under the Mosholu and up the hill to the old aqueduct. Check the map. I was actually approaching along the Aqueduct from the north at this point, very close to where you would be if you came in from 233rd Street.
The aqueduct parallels the Mosholu about 100 yards to the east (which was good if there was an old intersection, long gone, 105 yards from the mark) and I kept my eyes peeled for anything resembling a headwall on either side. First I found a drain with a rock headwall (without cement) but I could find no mark. Then I saw a concrete headwall around a walled up something up to the left. I scrambled up to take a look at the top of the north end. Paydirt! There was the mark, probably unseen by human eyes in over 50 years.
The headwall is 15 yards east of the aqueduct and 45 yards north of the intersection of the aqueduct and the (paved) path from 233rd Street (see the map). The head wall is only about 4 feet high, not 10. There was no sign of the blacktop road or the old connector, just the aqueduct and the path. But the mark remained where it has been for 54 years.
Handheld coordinates: N 40° 53' 41.1" W 073° 53' 03.4"
This paved path from 233rd Street forms a narrow angle with the mark between it and the aqueduct, and it would be possible to approach it from that path. But you can't see much of anything from the path, so if you come that way I suggest going a wee bit farther, take a sharp right onto the aqueduct and you will soon see the structure up to the right.
You can also approach from the south: enter the park from Gun Hill Road where it crosses the Mosholu (see the map). Follow the bike path (which travels between the Mosholu and a golf course) and when you come to the large intersection, circle around and go up the stairs and you will be on a bridge over the Mosholu. Just follow the path to the northeast and in about 1/4 mile you will reach the aqueduct heading off to the left. You are there.
First to Find!
[This entry was edited by Papa-Bear-NYC on Friday, April 14, 2006 at 1:12:09 PM.]
[Photos:]KU1147 W351, Van Cortland Park, Bronx NY
View of the concrete headwall from the Old Croton Aqueduct looking east. The path from 233rd Street is further up the hill behind this structure.
KU1147 W351, Van Cortland Park, Bronx NY
View of the headwall from the east showing the mark. You can see the dirt aqueduct path behind and the Mosholu Parkway in the background.
KU1147 Map, Van Cortland Park, Bronx NY
Map of the park showing the location of the mark. I approached from the west, but I also show approaches from the south and from the east on the map.
KU1147 W351, Van Cortland Park, Bronx NY