Sunday, November 11, 2007

day +82

My wanderlust continues.

This afternoon I walked by the new Yankee Stadium to check the progress of its construction before continuing north along Sedgewick Avenue (which runs parallel to the Major Deegan Expressway) to the High Bridge, New York City's oldest bridge. Though it's called a bridge, it's really an aqueduct. Built in 1848, the High Bridge was constructed as part of the Old Croton Aqueduct which brought a reliable source of clean water 41 miles from Westchester County to the burgeoning New York population of the mid-nineteenth century. Soon after its opening, the High Bridge became a popular attraction for New Yorkers and tourists alike as it offered sweeping vistas of the cavernous Harlem River at a height of 116 feet. It also became a popular promenade for pedestrians walking between upper Manhattan and the Bronx. Like the Aqueduct, the High Bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992.

Admiring its towering arches and its aesthetic beauty, I was reminded of my 2003 visit to the famous Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain.

Since about the 1970s, however, the High Bridge has been closed due to the need for repairs. Consequently, at the Bridge's entrance I was met by a large bolted gate but despite this, I was able to view and snap photographs of its promenade through the narrow gap separating the gate and its outer wall. Plans are underway though for this city landmark to be beautified and reopened to the public in the next few years.

From the High Bridge, I walked a couple of blocks north pass the Alexander Hamilton Bridge (that connects the Cross Bronx Expressway to the George Washington Bridge) to the Washington Bridge, which links the Washington Heights section of Manhattan to the Bronx. From the southern pedestrian lane of the Washington Bridge, one can look south and see both the neighboring High Bridge and traffic laden Alexander Hamilton Bridge. As I walked across the bridge towards Manhattan, it was clear to me that the Washington Bridge is a bit higher than both its neighbors. Even the Empire State Building and some of Manhattan's other notable skyscrapers can be seen in the far distance from the height of the Washington Bridge. On my return back across the Harlem River, I walked on the bridge's northern pedestrian lane and it's here that I think I took some of my best photographs today. Looking north, one sees the Harlem River nestled between the amber and crimson foliage of its topography, unobstructed by any other span until the River meets the University Heights Bridge in the far distance.

Of the Harlem River bridges that I have crossed, the Washington Bridge offers perhaps the most impressive view. Due to its great height, its commanding views of the landscape below are impressive. It is true that the area immediately south (on the Manhattan side) of the Macombs Dam (155th Street) Bridge does offer great views of Yankee Stadium and the northern side of the Willis Avenue Bridge presents a large, sweeping view of the Harlem River's width, but I left the Washington Bridge more impressed by its scenic views than that offered from any other Harlem River bridge yet. Of course, the High Bridge itself as well as the Henry Hudson and Broadway Bridges have yet to be crossed. Let the wanderlust continue!

I spent a good part of yesterday uploading to Flickr the rest of the photographs that I've taken since purchasing my digital camera about one year ago. You can look at all of them as well as all of the photographs from today's outing here.

Finally, since I'm on the topic of Harlem River bridges, I thought I'd share this witty 2006 essay in The New Yorker about the supposed sale of the Willis Avenue Bridge. Read it here. Does anyone know if the Willis Avenue Bridge is really for sale?


Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really think you should consider writing a book about a Walking Tour of Manhattan Bridges. Your photos are terrific!! maybe a travel book publisher would be interested!

good work!!


8:48 AM  
Comment Blogger Michelle J said...

Duane, as usual your pictures are awesome!! It makes me feel like i am actually standing right there! I agree with EFG, a book may be in your future. Think about it. Between your pictures and your fantastic writing, i know i would buy it!!
Love Michelle

10:31 AM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Hi EFG and Michelle,

It's a funny thing that you mentioned a book, because I have played around with the exact same idea just in the past few days. I've thought about a photo book perhaps via Blurb, the self-publishing software.

I think such a project would have to wait until the spring or summer, however, because I'd like to document the various bridges throughout the seasons.

Just keep checking in for new pictures!


4:12 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home