Saturday, November 12, 2011

The bridges of new york

Published in 1977, Sharon Reier's The Bridges of New York is a very rich and informative resource about the history of city's many spans, but its dated. In her study of the Harlem River bridges, she wrote:

Today, much of The Bronx is considered a disaster area. Few travel there for nostalgic sightseeing. . . . Although the Harlem is spanned by 14 bridges within its five miles, and a walking tour is physically possible, it is not a recommended journey. The bridges, especially at the eastern [Bronx] side of the river, are surrounded by impersonal housing projects, industrial sections, and expressways which are best unpleasant and at worst quite dangerous. The same is sometimes true for the parks which adjoin High Bridge and the Washington Bridge. Two safer ways of examining these structures are from a train on the Hudson division of the Penn Central, as previously mentioned, or from a boat below. The Circle Line excursion boats are more reliable for bridge watching than most private craft, as the currents of the Harlem are notoriously tricky and may require full attention. Another alternative for courageous bridge explorers is the bicycle.

While industry's grip on the Bronx side of the Harlem River remains, the area is much improved from Reier's description in the 1970s.

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