asg, those pix of the underside of the aquaduct are amazing. the cast iron has held up pretty well.
Some amazing photos of high bridge from asg: wondering how one can get up there to take photos - I doubt it is 'officially' open.
Also, the high bridge photos posted by yojimbot (and many other on that blog site) were well worth the click.
Thanks for the memories.
P.S. In reference to some of the 'other' photos on YOJIMBOT's blog; I saw 'Wonder Woman' (and friends) while walking in that area the other day - she's hot!
Last edited by infoshare; November 5th, 2008 at 08:16 PM.
asg, those pix of the underside of the aquaduct are amazing. the cast iron has held up pretty well.
I do an annual Harlem Hawk Walk...the results are on my other blog,
Last few are about the Hawks that nest in Highbridge Park.
Most enjoyable YJ, thanks for posting.
Landmark Tower in Washington Heights Closed for Repairs
By Carla Zanoni
Contractors stabilized the 1872 structure, but there will be no public access until $1 million in repairs are completed.
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — The High Bridge Water Tower, one of northern Manhattan’s best-known structures, was closed indefinitely to the public this week because of safety concerns and will likely need $1 million in repairs, the Parks Department said.
Parks officials said they were so alarmed by the condition of the tower's roof and windows that a contractor was called in on an emergency basis this week to secure the structure, which dates back to 1872 and is landmarked.
After stabilizing the structure, the contractor told the Parks Department that the tower was no longer a danger to the immediate area.
Parks is currently planning a more extensive assessment of the concrete and steel frame of the majestic tower, which overlooks the scenic Harlem River along 174th Street near Amsterdam Avenue.
The department has been pressing city and state elected officials for the past two years to approve funding to upgrade and repair the windows, iron stair treads, hand rails and the Carillon bells, which were last heard in 1957, said Parks spokeswoman Cristina DeLuca.
The building has a long history of neglect. In the 1980s the High Bridge Tower fell into disrepair when someone set a fire that burned down the tower’s roof, the New York Times reported. Parks fixed the roof afterwards, spending $900,000 on the restoration.
The area surrounding the tower is also undergoing a large-scale renovation, with $60 million being spent on the restoration to the High Bridge, a pedestrian bridge connecting Manhattan to the Bronx across the Harlem River. The bridge is part of a $96 million investment in the surrounding Highbridge Park.
DeLuca said the agency will conduct a more detailed scope of needed work on the tower once a thorough assessment of the structure is completed.
Now that you mention it...
Mind the Gap
Plans to open New York City's oldest bridge approved by Landmarks.
Courtesy NYC Parks
Nearly 165 years after opening to citywide fanfare, the High Bridge is one step closer to regaining its former prominence—though not, some say, its former beauty. In a public hearing on April 5, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) considered an application to rehabilitate and reopen the city’s oldest existing bridge, which was built in 1848 to extend the Old Croton Aqueduct across the Harlem River. Following its construction, the High Bridge quickly became a popular attraction for New York City residents who thronged to promenade across its scenic span. The bridge was celebrated for decades as a vital link between the Bronx and Manhattan and a picturesque symbol of the aqueduct’s role in bringing water to the city. Although declared a city landmark in 1970, the bridge was closed to the public soon afterward and currently lies in disrepair behind locked doors and barbed wire.
The rehabilitation design stems from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation’s 2006 announcement that the High Bridge would reopen as part of the PlaNYC initiative. At the LPC hearing, members of the design team offered a history of the structure as the context for their proposal. As Meisha Hunter, a senior preservationist at Li/Saltzman Architects, emphasized, “This bridge has been inextricably linked with a history of modification and change,” most notably the 1928 replacement of five of its masonry arches with a single steel arch to facilitate navigation of the Harlem River. It will also join two other recent and well-received elevated walkways in the area—New York’s High Line and Walkway Over Hudson in Poughkeepsie.
Plans for the new project, due for completion in 2013, include a physical restoration and the installation of access ramps, viewing platforms, and lighting. For many community members, the major point of contention is an eight-foot cable mesh fence that would run the bridge’s span. The design team defended the fence as necessary for public safety and crime prevention, primarily by preventing people from jumping or throwing objects from the bridge. However, opponents believe this addition would be unnecessarily tall, and fear it would overwhelm the bridge’s historic appearance and spoil its river views.
Several community representatives attending the hearing spoke against this element of the design, which Ebenezer Smith, district manager of Community Board 12, declared “insulting.” Rather than preventing misconduct, he said, the fence would alienate tourists by inadvertently suggesting the presence of criminal activity.
Charlotte Fahn, a member of Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct (FOCA), agreed. “The best way to have security on this bridge is to draw more people,” noting that the best way to draw more people “is to have great unimpeded views,” she testified.
While several commissioners expressed similar concerns, the general consensus of the LPC was that the fence’s potential reversibility makes up for any perceived shortcomings, and the priority should be reopening the bridge as soon as possible. Ultimately, the LPC approved the plans with a vote of seven to one.
For Robert Kornfeld, an architect who testified on behalf of FOCA and the Historic Districts Council for the High Bridge plans, the hearing was bittersweet. “We’re a hundred percent for this project. No one’s trying to bog it down,” he said, but he was “surprised” that the LPC was not willing to consider tweaking the fence design for the sake of preserving the views that once drew crowds to the bridge. “After all the work we’ve done to advocate, it’d really be a shame to see it desecrated in order to make it accessible.”
Copyright © 2003-2011 | The Architect's Newspaper, LLC
The bulk of Commissioners offered the same reasoning for their recent approval at 510 Fifth, where the entire floor will be demolished, the original escalator torn out and then the whole thing re-structured to move the escalator so some guy from Canada can sell more jeans.
One dimwit LPC-er actually said, "Well, the escalators can always be put back at some time in the future."
High Time for the High Bridge Pedestrian Bridge
by Tom Stoelker
Construction is about to start on High Bridge. (Courtesy New Yorkers for Parks)
There’s a scene in Edith Wharton’s 1913 novel Custom of the Country, where the wicked vixen Undine Spragg insists on speeding across the High Bridge in a “horseless carriage” before making her grand entrance at a party so as to rouge her cheeks with a cold snap of air whipping up from the Harlem River. The romantic fascination accorded the then-65-year-old bridge quietly slipped from New York’s consciousness as bigger engineering marvels usurped its quiet dignity.
Now approaching 165 years, renovations are about to get underway to finally restore the bridge to its former glory as a 1,200-foot-long pedestrian bridge, uniting neighborhoods of High Bridge and Washington Heights in the Bronx and Manhattan. New Yorkers for Parks stopped by the span Monday afternoon to document current conditions before construction is in full swing, giving us a hint of Undine’s views. Though controversial netting integrated into the design might mildly disrupt the vista, Monday’s photos show it the way it was, albeit slightly overgrown.
(all photos Courtesy New Yorkers for Parks)
Awesome old bridge.
I am glad they are restoring it, but it took them this long to do so? How long has it been sitting untouched?
God I hate that fence. It turns the experience into being inside a cage at the zoo. But as long as we live in a society in which misguided youth think its funny to drop large objects on people's heads (see several recent examples from here in the City, and from lots of other cities), then I am not sure what else can be done. It's a shame.
They need to find a less obtrusive way to do the same thing.
I have a picture of me on this bridge when I was apprx. 5 or 6 years old and I'm now 81 years old. Used to swim in Highbridge Pool and have June Walks (picnics) under the bridge. Family lived on Ogden Ave. on top of the best snow-sledding street in The Bronx.
New York City Breaks Ground on High Bridge Restoration
by Branden Klayko
(Courtesy New Yorkers for Parks)
Officials broke ground today on the long anticipated restoration of New York’s High Bridge connecting the Bronx with Manhattan. Built in 1848 and today the city’s oldest bridge, the 1,200-foot-long span had long been a popular strolling bridge, even making an appearance in Edith Wharton’s 1913 novel Custom of the Country. The landmarked bridge was closed to the public in the 1970s, but after construction wraps up on the $61 million rehabilitation, strolling New Yorkers and bicyclists can once again cross high above the Harlem River—116 feet—and connect with the city’s growing waterfront Greenway. (See also: Photos of High Bridge before renovation.)
Improvements include pedestrian safety measures like accessibility ramps, viewing platforms, and new lighting. An eight-foot-tall cable mesh fence to prevent jumpers and throwing trash will also line each side, a point that drew criticism from some in the community who believe it’s unnecessary and will spoil views. In a statement released at the groundbreaking ceremony, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called High Bridge “one of our city’s great treasures.” He continued, “It will bring people here from all over the five boroughs, and even all over the world, to see some of the most spectacular views in the city.”