New York sucks you in, in ways both good and bad. One of the stereotypical things that has happened to my family is that we never seem to be around or available. There are several reasons for this, some self-imposed, but the bottom line is that when we are actually able to be in the city on a weekend day, we try to make the most of it.
Father’s Day provided this opportunity for us for the first time in weeks. The weather originally called for rain, but it turned out to be a beautiful day. After a diner breakfast in the Bronx, we decided to visit the newly reopened High Bridge, which overlooks the Harlem River and connects the Bronx and the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.
There are inscriptions about the history of the High Bridge all along the walkway, but the gist of its background is:
- 1848: The High Bridge opens to bring water from the Croton River in Westchester to Manhattan.
- 1864: The bridge’s walkway opens, which drew tourists, visitors and the opening of amenities in the area.
- 1970s: The public is barred from accessing the High Bridge, due to less use of the waterfront.
- 2012: After prompting by local citizen groups such as the High Bridge Coalition, the High Bridge began being rehabilitated.
- 2015: The High Bridge reopens to the public in June.
Today’s High Bridge has a wide walkway, and on the residential Bronx side has a little area with chess tables, and on the Manhattan side has parkland and the High Bridge Water Tower. Where the walkway ends in Washington Heights, there are basketball courts and further up on the street, a larger recreation area that includes pools.
There are talks of organizing a more concerted effort to clean up some of the untamed parts of the park and decrease homelessness, crime and alcohol and drug use. There’s also talk of building a bike lane. Whatever happens in the future, the High Bridge is a unique piece of infrastructure that accomplishes one thing New York does best: mixing the old with the new.