The “kissing bridges” of Manhattan’s East Side

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, lots of little streams crisscrossed country-like Manhattan island.

This necessitated small pedestrian bridges—at least three of which earned the moniker “kissing bridge” because they were secluded, scenic, and an ideal place for a colonial couple to indulge in a little PDA.

One kissing bridge crossed over the Sawkill Stream near today’s 77th Street and Second Avenue.

A little to the south was another kissing bridge, at present-day 50th Street and Second Avenue. [Illustration at right, NYPL digital collection]

A third could be found near modern-day Park Row. A stream called Wreck Brook meandered close by.

Whenever a man and woman came upon it, “every gallant Knickerbocker was supposed to express his regard for the lady he met there in the manner indicated,” explains a city historian in a New York Times article from May 1900.

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6 Responses to “The “kissing bridges” of Manhattan’s East Side”

  1. petey Says:


  2. Upstate Ellen Says:

    I find it sad that there’s no trace of these old streams in modern-day NYC — all forced underground and paved over.

  3. Alan Solomon Says:

    Actually, there may be a surviving relic of the Saw kill. It was dammed to create The Lake in Central Park. Yes, but unfortunately, the rest of the creeks have been kissed goodbye.

  4. The ever-changing Bowery - fmm Says:

    […] being the main thoroughfare in and out of the city, the Bowery retained a rural character. A “kissing bridge” crossed a stream near where One Police Plaza now stands, and courting couples could sneak there […]

  5. The view from the last shot tower in Manhattan | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] sights of municipal history it has viewed. What scenes of lovemaking it has witnessed on the nearby Kissing Bridge. What changes it has seen on Blackwell’s Island and on the island of Manhattan in its […]

  6. The Pond, Manhattan – Hidden Waters blog Says:

    […] Second avenue, it was crossed by Eastern Post Road at Kissing Bridge, likely a romantic nickname. Ephemeral New York has the story. This colonial route continued north of Manhattan as Boston Post Road, linking these two cities. […]

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