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High Bridge in Manhattan and the Bronx, New York City

The oldest standing NYC bridge: The story of an inspiring comeback.

Over the Harlem river, connecting Manhattan and the Bronx, flies the oldest standing bridge in New York City. Now known under the name of High Bridge, it was first opened in 1848 as part of the Croton Aqueduct and was then called the Aqueduct Bridge. Basically, it was part of water supply system that helped to satisfy the thirst of then growing New York City.

The original bridge was constructed in Roman style, paying tribute to ancient aqueducts. Though during 1927 renovation most of the stone arches were replaced with a single steel span (to allow navigation on the Harlem River), the construction still does resemble the "Harry Potter bridge". (In case you didn't know, the railroad bridge leading to Hogwarts was in fact filmed in Scotland.) If you are such a geek (sorry) that you see HP traces everywhere, go visit Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the New York Historical Society - open till Jan 27. 

Coming back to our bridge: its story is quite dramatic. In 1949, a century after being opened, it ceased to water New Yorkers and logically soon was closed "due to disrepair." There were reports, however, about incidents of pedestrians throwing stones and trash from above directly to the boats passing under the bridge. Some passengers were seriously injured, and that is rumored to be the real reason for the city officials to close the High Bridge.

The grand structure was almost abandoned till 2000s (single stalkers not to be counted). In 2010s, the city decided to restore the High Bridge as a pedestrian and bicycle greenway. In June of 2015 the red ribbon was cut, and the Bronxites walked to the City (and vice versa) for the first time. 

Young and beautiful, the new-old High Bridge makes great contrast with the overgrown, sprawling park land laying beneath the span. This rave craves for control... By the way, if you take 10th Ave and walk industriously about 7.5 miles, you will be able to compare the High Bridge with its more "refined" brother - the High Line. Maybe one day the elder brother will get that lucky.






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