Posts Tagged ‘High Bridge’

A view of New York’s oldest and loveliest bridge

October 9, 2017

The Brooklyn Bridge is a beauty, yes, but for architectural grace and historical enchantment (and as a place for long late-night walks, as Edgar Allan Poe discovered), you just can’t beat High Bridge—the 1848 span built to bring city residents fresh water from the Croton Reservoir upstate.

Standing 84 feet above the Harlem River, the High Bridge’s 15 arches were an elegant sight for people on ships below or on the Bronx or Manhattan side above.

A pedestrian walkway was added in the 1860s—and it’s open again after being closed to the public for 40 years.

Harlem River Speed Racers

August 4, 2008

Horse and buggy racing was a popular pastime in late 19th century New York, and with this in mind, the city constructed the Harlem River Speedway, a 3-mile stretch of dirt road from 155th Street to Dyckman Street along the Harlem River.

Opened in 1898, it was a beautiful spot: the river on one side, rocky bluffs on the other, pedestrian lanes for spectators and walkers, and the gorgeous High Bridge in view.

Bicyclists were not permitted on the road back in the day, but that’s changed: The Speedway is now part of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, the city’s spectacular walking and cycling path around the perimeters of Manhattan.

The message on this postcard is sweet: “My dear Mrs. B, how would you like to take a spin in your auto?”

A view across the High Bridge

June 3, 2008

Closed to all traffic since the 1960s, the majestic High Bridge is slated to be renovated and then reopened to pedestrians in 2011. It’s one of the city’s small treasures, connecting Washington Heights’ Highbridge Park across the Harlem River to tiny Highbridge Park in the Bronx. Built in 1848, it’s also the oldest bridge linking two boroughs.

If you peered through the iron bars that block off the walkway on the Bronx side, this is what you’d see. The grass growing through it gives it a High Line kind of feel.

In the distance is the High Bridge Water Tower, constructed in 1872. Like the bridge itself, the tower was part of the Old Croton Aqueduct, an engineering marvel that brought fresh water from Westchester to New York City from 1842 until 1958. Think it would be cool to explore? You’re in luck; the Parks Department is opening the tower to the public on June 22.

Here’s the bridge circa 1890. The original stone arches were largely replaced by a steel arch in the 1920s.