View Full Version : The gantry of the float bridge of New York Central Railroad

January 31st, 2002, 12:26 PM
The gantry of the float bridge of New York Central Railroad at 69th Street, next to Trump Place





February 18th, 2002, 02:50 PM
Two recent images of the gantry of the float bridge of New York Central Railroad at 69th Street, next to Trump Place.



February 18th, 2002, 03:41 PM
NEW YORK TIMES December 10, 2001
Ferry at Riverfront Seen as Gateway to Wall St.

Travelers who funnel through the overcrowded subway station at Broadway and 72nd Street are so accustomed to feeling like cattle that they may welcome the chance to be treated like freight.

Waterborne freight, that is.

Under a new plan for Riverside Park South, being built between the Hudson River and the 13-block-long Trump Place development, a 90-year-old New York Central Railroad float bridge at the foot of 69th Street would be turned into a landing for small, high-speed ferries.

Abandoned as a gateway to America, it would re-emerge as a gateway to Wall Street. And, Donald J. Trump said last week, "It will take a lot of pressure off the 72nd Street subway."

That was not its original purpose. The float bridges that once lined the Port of New York were designed to transfer freight cars from waterside rail yards to barges called car floats, on which they were taken out to ships or to rail lines in New Jersey that connected with the rest of the country.

Like many such structures, Float Bridge No. 4 at 69th Street has a pair of hinged bridge decks suspended by cables from a barnlike overhead housing. Motors inside that housing lifted and lowered the decks to align them with the floats, whose position depended on the tides and the loads they carried.

Unused for decades, the renovated 69th Street bridge would be adapted for commuters through the addition at the far end of a gangway and a boarding platform known as a spud barge.

The landing could open in the fall of 2003, said Michael W. Bradley, executive director of the Riverside South Planning Corporation, a nonprofit organization formed by Mr. Trump and five civic groups to design Riverside Park South and the towers along its edge.

Neighborhood opponents wonder whether a landing would be an intrusive step toward commercialization of the park. They question the financing of the project and the speed with which it is being reviewed. And they ask how many people would forgo the subway for a ferry that could only be reached on foot across steeply sloping riverfront parkland.

"There are no buses," said Madeleine Polayes, president of the Coalition for a Livable West Side. "You couldn't get a car or a cab down there. And if we ever get a real winter, who's going to walk down there?

"It's not that we're against ferries," she said. "We just think there's a better place to put it."

But Arthur E. Imperatore Jr., president of NY Waterway, said a 69th Street stop would present a "very attractive opportunity for creating a new commuter ferry to Lower Manhattan."

He envisions service from the World Financial Center or Pier 11, near Wall Street, to 69th Street, where there might be a ticket office, waiting room and perhaps a coffee stand.

"It need not be too elaborate," he said. "It can be designed into the fabric of the park so that it can be used by the community."

Last month, NY Waterway began ferry service linking East 90th Street and Pier 11. A one-way ticket is $5; a monthly pass costs $150. On this line are new 97-passenger, 65-foot Super Otter class ferries that reach a top speed of 35 miles per hour.

Built by Allen Marine in Sitka, Alaska, they are, in essence, successors to the "railroad navy" — hundreds of lighters, barges, tugs, scows and tankers that moved railroad freight around the archipelago of New York Harbor and across 80 or 90 float bridges in the port.

Float Bridge No. 4 is "one of the most significant marine structures remaining in the city," said Thomas R. Flagg, author of "New York Harbor Railroads in Color" (Morning Sun Books, 2000).

Designed and patented in 1911, it corrected for the twisting forces encountered when car floats listed during loading and, Mr. Flagg said, "showed less inclination to dump boxcars into the river." Almost every subsequent transfer bridge in the Port of New York had that design, he said.

Preservation of the bridge was required in the plan for Riverside Park South, which shares the former rail yard with Trump Place and is being built in phases corresponding with the construction of the Trump towers. The first segment, including the renovated Pier I, opened in April. The second phase is being triggered by the construction of 140 and 220 Riverside Boulevard.

The park is financed by the developers, a partnership of Mr. Trump and Henry Cheng, David Chiu, Vincent Lo, Charles Yeung and Edward Wong of China. On completion, each segment is to be turned over to New York City.

The original plan called for stabilization of the 69th Street bridge as an artifact and visual amenity, not unlike the Long Island Rail Road float bridges at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, Queens.

Then a few months ago, Mr. Bradley got to thinking.

"Here you have all these people," he said as he stood near the bridge, arms open to encompass Trump Place and Lincoln Towers. "And everyone of them complains about the 72nd Street subway station."

As a vice president of the Hudson River Park Trust, which is developing the waterfront south of 59th Street, Mr. Bradley oversaw the restoration of a wooden float bridge that once served a Baltimore & Ohio Railroad freight yard at 26th Street. That project is nearing completion.

Quickly — too quickly, critics have said, for a meaningful study of financing, practicality, demand or environmental impact — Mr. Bradley drew up a $2.7 million plan for a ferry landing at 69th Street.

This would involve renovating the housing from which the decks are suspended, repairing the pilings, cross-bracing the bridge girders, adding timber planking, attaching the spud barge and even replacing the missing train tracks, Mr. Bradley said, "so you would understand what this thing did."

The remnants of two other float bridges immediately to the south would be cleared away, though the bridge trusses may be kept in place. The most monumental ruin of the rail yard is the shed on Pier D (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/topic.cgi?forum=1&topic=48), transformed by fire 25 years ago into an undulating skeleton almost worthy of Frank Gehry. To its south, Pier C (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/topic.cgi?forum=1&topic=48) is a tangled spaghetti-like mass of rusting steel.

Last week, the planning corporation applied for a $2 million federal grant for the ferry landing project. It would be managed by the city's Transportation Department, which is excited about the potential, said Tom Cocola, a spokesman. The developers had budgeted $250,000 for stabilization and $450,000 would be needed to redesign the park to accommodate the landing.

"It's terrific," Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern said of the new plan. "They're obligated to stabilize it. But making it functional would be even better."

The application was supported narrowly at Community Board 7 on the Upper West Side. Ethel Sheffer, chairwoman of the board's Riverside South task force, said she personally found the idea appealing but that it needed "hard study to see whether it really can work."

The Manhattan borough president, C. Virginia Fields, was more enthusiastic.

"Adaptive re-use of this magnificent transfer bridge," she said, "will enable residents and visitors to reconnect to New York City's industrial history."

July 5th, 2003, 10:44 PM
The gantry of the float bridge of New York Central Railroad at 69th Street, next to Trump Place.


Construction started on a 27-acre public waterfront park along the Hudson River. 24 March 2003.


May 8th, 2004, 11:55 AM


April 6th, 2008, 04:55 AM
Urban Studies | Rusting Away

Hope Floats

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/04/06/nyregion/float600.jpg Librado Romero/The New York Times

By MICHAEL POLLAK (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/michael_pollak/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: April 6, 2008

AT the very tip of West 69th Street, at the end of Riverside South Park, an arrangement of half-submerged, half-burned, rusted platforms sits awkwardly in the Hudson River, flanked by rotting pilings. Looming over the debris is a hulking 35-foot-tall gantry, whose gears once lifted and lowered bridge decks from its suspended cables.

The bizarre-looking assemblage, which was once known as Float Bridge No. 4 and which dates to 1911, offers a sharp contrast to the park’s pathways and ornamental grasses, and its presence has not gone unnoticed by local residents.

“It’s junk, and it ought to be removed,” said Jeff Jadin, a retiree who lives in Trump Place, not far from the park, and was staring at the machinery the other day from a bench near the waterfront. “If they have a plan to actually do something with it, that’s fine, but all I see is garbage.”

Since 2001, the city’s Parks Department has in fact had an ambitious $4 million plan to clean up the site and make it a ferry landing. The float bridge, a relic from the days of the New York Central Railroad, which used it to transfer rail cars to and from ferries, would become a landing for ferries, possibly traveling to and from Wall Street.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation does not object to the idea of cleaning and preserving the bridge. But in a letter to the Parks Department last spring, the state agency recommended scrapping the proposal for ferry service, on the ground that the dredging required to create a landing site for the ferry would eliminate precious habitats for aquatic plants and animals.

Adrian Benepe (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/adrian_benepe/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the parks commissioner, said negotiations were continuing. “We intend to work closely with the D.E.C. on this,” Mr. Benepe said. “We haven’t ruled anything out.”

Copyright 2008 The New York Times.

April 6th, 2008, 04:59 AM
Another chance for you to look at Edwards photographs from 2002 and 2003.

April 6th, 2008, 07:56 AM
“It’s junk, and it ought to be removed,” said Jeff Jadin, a retiree who lives in Trump Place, not far from the park, and was staring at the machinery the other day from a bench near the waterfront. “If they have a plan to actually do something with it, that’s fine, but all I see is garbage.”Is that the consensus?

I thought is was left there as sculpture.

April 6th, 2008, 08:53 AM
Perhaps it's the view of those who live in Trump Place.

They probably don't like the view it presents to their visitors.

Its amazing the difference between 2002 and now, looks like folks have beem stealing bits of it..

April 6th, 2008, 09:05 AM
When they built the park, they removed pieces from the gantry, and the debris around it; and cleaned the graffiti.

For a while, someone set up house in the machinery room at top.

April 6th, 2008, 03:28 PM
So a guy moves into the new Trump Place condo-traption and then complains that the folks in charge should move the nearly 100 year old pier structure (which was looking pretty much like it does now when this guy moved in).

The gall ...

April 6th, 2008, 07:47 PM
I bicycle past it frequently, up and down the Hudson River, and it is the visual highlight of my trip. It is absolutely beautiful. If the Trumpers don't like it, we should move it down to BPC in place of that ridiculous fake pier called South Cove.

April 6th, 2008, 09:03 PM
I say move Trump Place ...

April 7th, 2008, 11:00 AM
I also thought they kept it as "art". I mean, what could they possibly install that would be more interesting than that?

May 2nd, 2008, 09:10 PM
There's a few tickets left if you're interested. The former NYCRR yard and float bridges will be viewed and discussed by railmarine experts.


detective o
March 19th, 2011, 10:31 PM
Don't know if anybody noticed but walking past the float bridge, someone has dismantled and taken a great deal of it away. It was a remarkable, beautiful and naturally graceful work of art and history, even though created by age, neglect and fire. Ironic that people who complained about it as ugly live in the Trump Condos lining the Westside Drive. Now aren't those buildings a work of art. Sooner or later, NYC will be Trump, Starbucks, and Duane Reade turning it into a faceless city without soul and individuality.

March 21st, 2011, 01:26 PM
That really stinks, the float bridge ruins gave the area character

March 21st, 2011, 01:35 PM
The story of the dismantling from the Riverside Park South thread:

Remnants of an Industrial Past, Now Gone (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3059&p=349870&viewfull=1#post349870)

“It is not possible to stabilize or preserve Pier D in its current condition,” Vickie Karp, a parks department spokeswoman, said of the larger of the two structures. “It is being removed before it collapses into the Hudson River, causing a hazard to navigation. It is prudent to remove it now, while the funding is in place and work is ongoing in the surrounding area, before any such collapse occurs.”

March 21st, 2011, 01:53 PM
Are we talking about the gantry (it was there a month ago) or Pier D, which was removed?

March 21st, 2011, 04:16 PM
You're right, as far as I know the Gantry is still there. Pier D came down. (Late night last night, sorry for the confusing post)