Building the “Hudson River Bridge”

This vintage postcard was printed in the late 1920s, before the George Washington Bridge was completed in 1931—and apparently before a name for the bridge was officially chosen. 

It looks pretty rural up there in Washington Heights at the time. And where’s the lower deck? That didn’t exist until 1962.

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15 Responses to “Building the “Hudson River Bridge””

  1. Alice Beebe Says:

    Where is the lighthouse under the bridge? My favorite thing when going down the West Side Highway was to look for the lighthouse when I was a kid.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    I thought of that too actually. Maybe it can’t be seen from south of the bridge?

  3. Alice Beebe Says:

    I am pretty sure I always turned around right when we passed it going into the city. I will have to check next time. It was a game we played. Who would see it first?

  4. Paul Sahner Says:

    This appears to be an illustration from when the GW was still slated to be covered in granite – a plan that was ditched due to the depression.

  5. Building the “Hudson River Bridge” « Ephemeral New York | New York Blogs Says:

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  6. List Building From Scratch | Twitter Right Says:

    […] Building the “Hudson River Bridge” « Ephemeral New York […]

  7. DGK Says:

    If it’s printed in the 20’s the bridge was still in the concept stage. Also it’s the view from what’s now the West Side Highway, so the lighthouse (on the south side of the Manhattan leg) would be obscured.

    The book “Conquering Gotham: A Gilded Age Epic: The Construction of Penn Station and Its Tunnels” talks about the original plans for giant rail bridges. They’d have used concrete on the scale of the Eyptian pyramids. Throughout that book, the bridge that would eventually become our scaled down (yet still the busiest in the country) George Washington Bridge is referred to as the “North River Bridge” rather than the Hudson. Those who argued for it and against tunnels felt that people wouldn’t want to be trapped underwater, and also they’d want a view like they had from Roebling’s Bridge connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn.

    The October 26, 1930 NY Times ran a story I have handy: “Seek Name for Bridge – Suggestions Being Received for New Hudson Span. Suggestions for names for the new Hudson River Bridge connecting Manhattan and Fort Lee, N.Y. [sic] are being received by the Interstate Hudson River Bridge Association …

    “Some of the recommendations already received are: Jersey Bridge, Fort Lee Bridge, Bergen Bridge and Mackay Bridge, the latter after Judge William B. Mackay, who was one of the sponsors of the bridge bills in the New Jersey Legislature. Since the span probably will be opened in a little more than a year, it is expected that the official name will be chosen soon.”

  8. wildnewyork Says:

    Great research DGK–thanks. I love that we could be crossing the Jersey Bridge.

  9. petey Says:

    iirc a spot around 50th street in manhattan was originally suggested for the hudson bridge, and it’s possible to see some sort of footing for it still on the jersey side.

  10. DGK Says:

    Yes, the cornerstone was only recently removed. Once located in the backyard of 1200 Garden Street (which puts it at 12th Street almost at the upper limit of the grid), was a massive eight-foot-tall block of concrete. Cut into its side was the inscription: “Foundation Laid-North River Bridge Co.-1895.”

  11. DGK Says:

    Hobokeni reports, second-hand so who knows, “When we asked a neighbor what happened to the cornerstone, she replied, ‘They were just tired of it. They needed the space for the kids to play in the backyard.’ We were told that the stone had been removed, and then demolished.”

  12. whetstone Says:

    Does anyone know the name of the lower bridge?

  13. whetstone Says:

    Anyone know the name of the lower bridge?

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