Thursday, April 23, 2009

☞ WALK: Harlem River High Bridge

The High Bridge on West 173rd Street is notably one of the most undiscovered landmarks to downtown New Yorkers. Easily accessible to Harlemites for many decades, the High Bridge was finished in 1848 and provided water from the Croton River to the City of New York. Based on the ancient Roman aqueducts, the bridge was originally built with pipes embedded inside and then paved over at a later date for the public to walk on. The bridge is the oldest standing bridge in New York City, connecting upper Manhattan to the Bronx (which looks so idyllic in the second photo). Originally built solely as a series of stone arches, the part straddling the river was replaced in 1920 with the steel girders as seen in more recent photos. The High Bridge Tower on the Manhattan side is also a visual wonder that was a pressure tank for the aqueduct, but it is now used as a tower opened periodically to the public. At the tower's base is the expansive High Bridge Park. Although the bridge has been closed to pedestrians since 1960, it is currently wrapping up a $20 million restoration and should be open by summer 2009. Take the 1 or A,C train to 168th Street and walk east to Amsterdam and 173rd Street.

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