Wednesday, November 14, 2007

day +85

After my weekly session with Dr. Roberts late this morning, I took a yellow cab uptown via the Harlem River Drive to W. 171st Street and Amsterdam Avenue where the High Bridge Water Tower is located. Though the park grounds surrounding this city landmark are open to the public, the Tower itself was closed. It's open for special events only and the next such event will take place on Sunday, November 25th. Despite the Tower's closure, I took a lot of photographs of the Tower itself, the park grounds, and the views offered from the site's elevated position above the Harlem River. Unfortunately, today wasn't a good day for outdoor photography as a thick, gray overcast persisted throughout the afternoon. In light of the cloudy skies, I was able to identify the the Macombs Dam Bridge, Alexander Hamilton Bridge, and even the more distant University Heights Bridge.

View of the High Bridge and the Bronx

View of the Macombs Dam Bridge (foreground) and the 145th Street Bridge (background)

From the High Bridge Water Tower, I walked up along Amsterdam Avenue to W. 179th Street whereupon I continued west across the width of Washington Heights to the George Washington Bridge. I had driven across the GWB many times, but until this afternoon I had never attempted to walk across it. After taking a few minutes to figure out where the pedestrian-bicycle pathways started, I found them, choosing the southern pedestrian-bicycle entrance to the GWB, which is at W. 178th Street and Cabrini Boulevard.

As one walks west through Washington Heights towards this monster over the Hudson, it's New York arch can be seen in the distance amidst the buildings. This towering arch, however, is only clue that you're walking in the right direction. But because that's the only part of its structure that one can see from such a distance, it comes as a humbling surprise when you're right there about to enter the pedestrian-bicycle entrance and there before you is the GWB in a panoramic view unobstructed and unfettered in all its glory.

The view of the mighty Hudson River is quite impressive from the GWB. Even amidst the thick cloud cover, I was able to get a real sense of its charm and beauty. It can also get quite windy up there. I took off my baseball cap several times worried that it might be blown away.

It's clear that the Port Authority of NY and NJ, the bi-state agency that maintains and operates all the bridges, tunnels, airports, and bus terminals shared by both states, does not like people who are on the GWB taking pictures of it. I was stopped twice by personnel on the pedestrian-bicycle pathway, who inquired into the purpose of my photography. I was told that photography of the bridge's structure as well as entrance and exit routes to the bridge are at least discouraged if not forbidden. Yes, this is the post-9/11 world.

When at last I arrived on the New Jersey side, I took a sharp left and walked to the nearby Fort Lee Historic Park where I snapped a lot of photographs of the GWB from a very popular observation site. While in the park, I also observed two deers foraging in the bushes.

New Jersey!

From the Fort Lee Historic Park, I walked the roughly 1.6 miles back across the GWB into Washington Heights before continuing east across the Washington Bridge into the Bronx and then, home.

Looking south at the Alexander Hamilton Bridge (foreground) and the High Bridge (background) from the Washington Bridge. The High Bridge Water Tower can be seen in the upper right corner.

Last night before going to bed, I did a bit of research online on the Harlem River bridges. On Flickr, I found a good number of photographs (many of them quite good) of these bridges. I wasn't able, however, to find a book in which these bridges are the sole focus. I did find The Bridges of New York, which devotes one chapter to the Harlem River bridges, and the Guide to New York City Landmarks, which looks at the High Bridge but I don't know to what degree or if other Harlem River bridges are reviewed as well. I also spent a few minutes combing through the New York Public Library's catalogue for a book on the history of the Harlem River bridges, but during those few minutes of searching I didn't see anything. Of course, this search was by no means extensive. I spent perhaps 10 minutes at the most searching. So, there may very well be a book written about the Harlem River bridges. I just need to look more throughly. But what if there isn't? Perhaps there's something here for me. We'll see.


Comment Blogger S said...

Such pretty pictures with all the fall colors in the park! I wish I had such a great neighborhood to walk in.

Glad to keep hearing from you, we miss you!

-Sarah Sipe (yaaaay, it really is now!)

12:20 PM  
Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow nice pictures and the Fall leaves are still pretty.
what an adventure you had yesterday for a city dweller.


12:24 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Thanks!! :)

4:18 PM  
Comment Blogger Candace Kuchinski said...

Not surprised to hear about the port authority and the bridges. I've been in airports taking photos and been approached by the TSA forbidding me to continue. Plus, you are at the epicenter of fear of terrorism.

1:53 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Yeah, you're right Candice. NYC is numero uno on the terrorist list probably.

9:45 PM  

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