Monday, August 3, 2015

The High Bridge and the Park

High Bridge, New York c. 1880
Tinted Stereoview by the New York Stereoscopic Co.

Welcome to The High Bridge -- Its Past, Present & Future website.  This site connects all interested parties on exciting developments associated with The High Bridge, Highbridge Park, and the immediately surrounding area.

We are in the process of sprucing up our site and making it more presentable.  As most of you already know, the High Bridge was reopened on June 9, 2015 after about 45 years of having been closed and years of planning and reconstruction.  The adjacent Highbridge Park is also undergoing extensive refurbishment as part of the NYCPlan 2030, and the immediate neighborhood near the Park, particularly along Amsterdam and Edgecombe avenues is starting to experience a renaissance with building renovations and new commercial ventures.
With this in mind, we are now shifting gears away from the reconstruction of The High Bridge to the other improvements that will be forthcoming.  We also recognize that there will be more visitors to the bridge, the Highbridge Park, and the surrounding areas, so we will be providing more information for those who do not have familiarity with the area and its attractions. 
At present the public funding for the improvements and redevelopment effort for the Bridge and the Park have exceeded $100 Million. On Jan. 11, 2013 Mayor Michael Bloomberg broke ground on the construction phase of the plan for the redevelopment of the High Bridge and the cost of reopening the bridge has been publicized at $61.8 Million.

On June 9, 2015, the official reopening ceremony of the High Bridge occurred. (Please see the specific posts for this event).  On July 25, 2015 the High Bridge Festival celebrating the reopening of the High Bridge occurred.

There are many other activities progressing simultaneously with the redevelopment of the High Bridge. This web site focuses on the developments in and immediately adjacent to The High Bridge and Highbridge Park.  Please make sure to scroll down to see previous posts on new and exciting developments.

It is our belief that with this site we can foster an appreciation of the past, an understanding of the present and a catalyst for the development of the future needs of this immediate area.

Hopefully, we will find common ground to dramatically improve the buildings, the retail establishments and the quality of life in such a way as to compliment the redevelopment effort associated with the High Bridge and High Bridge Park and make this area a destination for more of the millions of residents of New York City and some of the more than tens of millions of visitors who come to New York City each year.

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Sept 6, 1879

Please contact us and let us know if you have any interests in participating as a contributor, volunteer, or merely to coordinate with your community organization, or even if you are just an interested neighborhood resident. If you want to contribute to the site with any comments please feel free to do so.

Organizationally, we have been adding information to each page as it is appropriate.  You should return to pages on a regular and frequent basis to catch up on latest developments on each topic.  We have also provided for reader feedback at the bottom of each topic.

There are almost 100 posts with information and pictures on all sorts of topics. Information about the history of the High Bridge and the building of the aqueduct, articles about what is going on right now, and articles about the future changes that we all hope will come to the High Bridge, the park, and the surrounding neighborhoods. Please click on the Area of Interest on the right and a whole host of topics will present themselves. Or, you may scroll through the archive of articles on the right to find and article of interest to you. Or, you may also search by keyword in the box provided at the right above the archive listings. Or, you may just scroll down and look at the articles in chronological order going backward in time.

 If you are experiencing any difficulty using our site please let us know.

Please subscribe to our newsletter.

last modified 7/28/2015
As reported by  CBS TV 2 News, NewYork, August 3, 2015 — "The newly-restored High Bridge connecting Upper Manhattan with the Bronx has become a tourist hot spot – in a very literal and not exactly welcome way.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, one visitor said her trip to the historic span left her with burns.
Tara Cifarelli, an executive producer for CBS2 News, said her hand was still in pain Monday after suffering severe burns to her palm while on a staircase to the bridge in Washington Heights.
“It’s kind of one of those things where I didn’t realize how bad it was until I got to the top of the stairs and I saw my hand oozing,” Cifarelli said.
Cifarelli just visited the newly-renovated High Bridge last Tuesday, when temperatures were hovering in the 90s. She was climbing up a daunting, steep staircase to High Bridge Park while harboring a severe fear of heights.
“The adrenaline — I’m trying to get up the stairs, so I just kept going, and it wasn’t until I got to the top when I was like, ‘Oh my God, I really hurt myself,’” Cifarelli said.
Cifarelli was holding on to the railing super tight for her entire trek up the staircase. On Monday, the railing was about 120 degrees, and Sanchez could already feel a stinging burn on her only halfway up.
A surface thermometer showed the railing got as hot as 126 degrees Monday afternoon.
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation said the iron railing dates back to the mid-19th century. The city said it was restored in 2008.
The Parks Department said it has never received any complaints about the historic railing.
CBS2 did find some people who after touching the scorching rails Monday, said they can see how Cifarelli got hurt.
“Anything could happen if it’s real hot, and it’s been soaking up the heat,” said parkgoer Kathleen Heidecker of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
“Maybe they could put blue; maybe a lighter color, or maybe they could put rubber on it,” another parkgoer said.
The city admitted the typical black paint it uses might make the heat absorption a bit worse, but officials said changing the color might not make enough of a difference to counter the metal heating.
Cifarelli is worried someone else may get burned too.
“Especially a little kid — their skin is so tender that they could put one hand on that and it’s going to burn them,” Cifarelli said.
For now, Cifarelli advised, climbers beware."

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Two Well Known Sonia's visit Highbridge Park in the Bronx and Take a Stroll on the High Bridge

David Gonzalez/The New York Times

The New York Times has reported that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Sonia Manzano, the actress who played Maria on "Sesame Street", met at Highbridge Park in the Bronx in July and took a walk across the High Bridge.  The two frequently return to reconnect with their roots in the Bronx.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Parks & Rec Opens Bidding on Ice Rink and Concession at Highbridge Park Again

As we understand the current situation, Parks & Rec attempted to get bids in March of 2014 (see our post on that attempt) for an ice skating rink, but no one responded to the bid proposal by bidding on the project.  Now that the High Bridge is open, there is another effort to find an organization to develop and operate an ice rink and various concessions in Highbridge Park during the winter months.

Development, Operation and Management of a Seasonal Ice Rink At Highbridge Park Pool, Manhattan

Bid Date & Time: 09/14/15 3:00 PM
Prebid: 08/14/15 10:30 AM
Solicitation Title: Development, Operation and Management of a Seasonal Ice Rink At Highbridge Park Pool, Manhattan
Owner Solic Number: M37-5-IS-2015    Status: bidding    Report: 6482535
Country :United States     State: NY    County: New York
Location: Highbridge Park Pool, Manhattan
Scope: Development, operation and management of a seasonal ice rink.
Notes: There will be a recommended site visit on Friday, August 14th, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. We will be meeting at the proposed concession site (Block # 2106 and Lot # 1), which is located at Amsterdam Avenue and West 173rd Street. We will be meeting in front of the entrance to the pool at the southern gate. If you are considering responding to this RFP, please make every effort to attend this recommended site visit.
Plans: From Owner.
Owner Type: Public
Buyer: Department of Parks and Recreation(DPR), Arsenal Central
Address: 830 Fifth Avenue Room 407
City: New YorkState: NYZip/Postal Code: 10065
Contact: Santiago Zindel
TEL: 212-360-3407FAX: 212-360-3434
Bid Pkg Source: Department of Parks and Recreation(DPR), Arsenal Central
Address: 830 Fifth Avenue Room 407
City: New YorkState: NYZip/Postal Code: 10065
Contact: Santiago Zindel
TEL: 212-360-3407FAX: 212-360-3434

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Public Space Potluck at Highbridge Park July 29

Following the June reopening of the High Bridge, New Yorkers can once again walk across the Harlem River from Manhattan to the Bronx on the oldest standing bridge in NYC.   Join the Design Trust for Public Spaces for a communal meal on the terrace beside the historic High Bridge Water Tower, followed by a guided tour across the recently renovated bridge.

Free and open to all, the popular Public Space Potlucks gather urban enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds together for a shared meal, temporarily transforming New York City’s public space into a communal dining room. Launched in 2008, Public Space Potlucks were initially inspired by architects Zack McKown and Calvin Tsao, who threw a dinner party in the center of the Brooklyn Bridge. Through the years, the Potlucks have steadily gained a following and taken place in diverse locations like the Grand Concourse, the Staten Island Ferry, Roosevelt Island and underneath the BQE, to name a few. 

The Public Space Potlucks are organized by The Design Trust for Public Space, which was founded in 1995 to unlock the potential of New York City's shared spaces. Today they are a nationally-recognized incubator that transforms and evolves the city's landscape with city agencies and community collaborators. Their work can be seen, felt and experienced throughout all five boroughs–from parks and plazas to streets and public buildings.

You’ll be joined by Jennifer Hoppa, Parks Administrator for Northern Manhattan, Charles McKinney, Principal Urban Designer for NYC Parks, and a few members of City Life is Moving Bodies (CLIMB). Together they’ll give you the backstory on recent developments in the park and the exciting initiatives that are still to come.

As always, cups, plates, and napkins will provide the for the shared meal. All attendees are asked to please bring a food dish to share. The event is free and open to all; however, please note that handicap accessibility is limited in the park.

Dinner will be on the terrace beside the Highbridge Park Water Tower, located behind the Highbridge Recreation Center. RSVP now to secure your spot at our first Public Space Potluck of the summer.

Event Details:

  • When: 
    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
    6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Where: 
  • Highbridge Park Water Tower Terrace
    Highbridge Park
    2301 Amsterdam Avenue
    at 173rd St., NY

  • Saturday, July 25, 2015

    Reports on The High Bridge Festival

    Courtesy News12 Bronx

    Scott Lynch had some very kind words and great images in his article on the High Bridge Festival for The Gothamist, July 26.

    Also, an article at entitled "NYC Parks Hosts High Bridge Festival" has many comments and pictures.
    If you have some other photos of the High Bridge Festival that you would like to share, please send them here and we will post them, if appropriate.

    Thursday, July 23, 2015

    Make Sure to Come to the High Bridge Festival this Saturday

    Join NYC Parks & Recreation for The High Bridge Festival at Highbridge Park, on both the Manhattan and Bronx sides of the Harlem River 12:00 p.m.4:00 p.m.Saturday, July 25, 2015
    The High Bridge Festival celebrates the historic reopening of the High Bridge, NYC's oldest standing bridge. This free event has something for everyone to enjoy. Activities include:
    • Bridge Making Workshop by the Bronx Children’s Museum
    • Walking tours of the High Bridge
    • Puppet Mobile by CityParks Foundation
    • Rowing instruction and demonstrations by the Harlem River Community Rowing
    • Live entertainment presented by ZTE
    • Kung Fu Panda 3 Photo Booth
    • Scavenger hunt
    • Kids’ obstacle course
    • International food
    • A special guest appearance by Dora The Explorer!
    And don’t miss the SummerStage concert featuring Jose Peña Suazo y La Banda Gorda at 7:00 p.m. To ensure that everyone on both sides of the bridge can access the concert, the High Bridge will be open until 10:00 p.m. on the day of the festival.
    The High Bridge Festival will also feature activities, performances, and information from more than a dozen community partners, including: Bike New York, Bronx Children’s Museum, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Circa ’95, City Parks Foundation, CLIMB, Cocolart, Five Borough Bicycle Club, Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct, Harlem River Community Rowing, Highbridge Voices, Jenae Schwartz, Robleswrites Productions, Row New York, Unicycle Bridge Tour, Waterfront Alliance.
    The High Bridge Festival is supported by ZTE, Fresh Direct, Emblem Health, FlatRate Moving, and Kung Fu Panda 3.

    Washington Heights to Yankee Stadium via the High Bridge

    There is a very well done series of articles with plenty of images chronicling a trip through Washington Heights, Highbridge Park, The High Bridge, the Highbridge section of the Bronx, and, finally, Yankee Stadium.  This highlights many of the lesser known parts of the journey for anyone interested in taking the walk for themselves, or, for that matter, for just documenting, historically, what this area was like in 2015 for all future generations that might be interested to know.

    Here are the links to the two parts in Forgotten New York.
    Part 1
    Part 2