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

    Wednesday, July 22, 2015

    Highbridge Historic Walking Tour this Saturday

    SAT | JUL 25 | 11am-1:30pm | $10/$20
    The oldest bridge standing in New York City is now open. Considered an engineering marvel of the day, High Bridge is a classic example of how an ancient system of water technology can play a major role in the expansion of a metropolis.
    Where: This tour will start at the foot of The Bronx-bound staircase of the 167th Street #4 subway station located at the northeast corner. Bronx buses #35, #1, and #2 run near the tour meeting location and it will terminate there as well.  The tours generally run about 75 minutes.
    More Info: Bronx County Historical Society, 718.881.8900 reservations required.

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015

    The High Bridge Festival via Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx -- Saturday July 25th, 2015


    New York's Friendliest Bike Club

    The High Bridge Festival!
    via Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx
    Saturday, July 25, 2015 - 12:00 Noon

    To get to High Bridge, we head over to Brooklyn, up Dumbo, through 
    Williamsburg, LIC, the Triborough, Ward's Island and the Bronx Side 
    of the Harlem River, where we cross over -- a tad exhausted -- the High 
    Bridge into Manhattan at 170th St. The festival is from noon until 4PM 
    (we should arrive around 3). Followed by a SummerStage concert featuring 
    Jose Peña Suazo y La Banda Gorda, at 7, for those who want to stay later. 
    (Yeah, this is all about the music.) Return is via the Hudson Greenway.

    Dinner is at Covo Trattoria Pizzaria, outdoors, under the viaduct at 135th St. 
    at 12th Ave. (depending on whether we stay for the concert). and do bring 
    lights, front (white) and rear (red) if you plan on riding with us after dust, 
    and into the night.

    NOTE: There are steps to the Triborough, the RFK, 161st St. in the Bronx, 
    and 157th St. in Manhattan.  So, if you have a lighter bike, do bring it along 
    for this ride. But if you want to develop your upper body, this is the ride for 

    Milage: 25
    Ride Type: Happy Face
    Start Location: City Hall
    End Point: Chelsea Piers
    RSVP Email:
    Leaders: Josh Gosciak, Alfredo Garcia

    Thursday, July 16, 2015

    When Will de Blasio See the Light on Parks?

    In an article that appeared on July 13, 2015 in New York Magazine, Justin Davidson gives a wonderful and much deserved kick in the pants to Bill de Blasio for not taking more of an interest in the further development of the park projects started by Michael Bloomberg while he was mayor.  De Blasio did not even show up for the opening ceremony of the High Bridge Aqueduct.

    Davidson goes on to say "De Blasio need not sulk that all the sexy projects were taken before he showed up. The city recently reopened High Bridge, an elegant mid-19th-century aqueduct that vaults over the Harlem River between Harlem and the South Bronx, but the 119-acre Highbridge Park below remains a fixable mess, part ravishing wilderness, part diorama of decay."

    The more pressure put on public official, the more changes will be initiated.  Join the bandwagon.

    Wednesday, July 15, 2015

    A Tour of Metro North's Harlem Line Highbridge Station

    A view from the recently opened High Bridge

    The Harlem Line just put out a piece on the Highbridge station of the Metro North Harlem Line. It is very interesting.  While the station is not open to the public, it is still used by employees and it plays an important role in the history of the High Bridge.  Click on theharlemline to see this fascinating bit of information.

    Newly Opened High Bridge Gives Bird's Eye View

    The High Bridge, Eau Claire, Wisconsin over the Chippewa River

    As it turns out the High Bridge crossing the Harlem River that just reopened in June, 2015 is not the only pedestrian bridge named The High Bridge that reopened recently.  The High Bridge in Eau Claire, Wisconsin which crosses the Chippewa River also just reopened.  At 900 feet in length, it is a substantial bridge in its own right. The cost of reconstruction was a mere $1.15 Million compared to the $61.8 Million for the namesake crossing the Harlem River here in New York City.

    The Eau Claire High Bridge’s history dates to 1898, when Chicago and North Western Railway built the bridge and later sold it to Union Pacific Railroad.  For more information on this happening click here

    In a related matter the City of Eau Claire has now designated the area on the West side of the High Bridge to be a redevelopment area and are attracting restaurants and other mixed use developers to come to the area.  They have started by renaming the area "The Cannery District" for more information on this click here.

    If you are interested in seeing other bridges that are named "High Bridge" click here.

    Northern Manhattan Photo Meetup Group will meet at the High Bridge

    Henry Hudson Bridge at Dusk

    The Northern Manhattan Photo Meetup group will be heading to the High Bridge for their third group meeting! The High Bridge is the oldest bridge in New York City, having originally opened as an aqueduct in 1848 and reopened as a pedestrian walkway in 1864 after the third tube was added. Then in 1970 the pedestrian walkway was closed.  Now, after having been closed for over 40 years the High Bridge has opened once again.  Photo Meetup #3: July 25, 2015 Meeting Time 12pm Meeting Point TBA. Coincidentally, the meetup lands on the very same day as the first ever High Bridge Festival celebrating the opening of the bridge! So brace yourself for some fun!

    Editor's note: We do not know the website for this group and are not sure we can locate the Meetup Point before the designated Meetup time.  If any readers are familiar with the group we would greatly appreciate some input here.  Thanks.

    Saturday, July 11, 2015

    NYC Parks Cuts Ribbon on Restored Historic John T. Brush Stairway

    As reported today. July 10, 2015, at, the ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the John T. Brush Stairway.

    NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP joined New York Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost, Executive Vice President of Communications and Senior Advisor to the CEO for the San Francisco Giants Staci Slaughter, former New York Met and Yankee Lee Mazzilli, Assembly Member Herman D. Farrell, Jr. and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez to cut the ribbon on the newly restored historic John T. Brush Stairway on the 102nd anniversary of its dedication. The stairway connects Edgecombe Avenue at 158th Street in Washington Heights to the Harlem River Driveway where the old Polo Grounds used to sit.

    For more information see the Stairway to Heaven
    post on this site.

    Thursday, July 9, 2015

    Rebuilding New York's Open Air Stairways

    Grand Stairway of The High Bridge (Bronx)
    As seen in the late 19th Century

    The Wall Street Journal has reported on New York City's desire to rebuild many of its Open Air Stairways.  Since 20 of these stairways are in Washington Heights, this should be of some interest to our readers.

    The first stairway of note (and note that it is not even in Manhattan) is the Highbridge Park Steps at West 170th Street in the Bronx, which will become a grand gateway to the newly reopened High Bridge spanning the Harlem River. It was originally built in the 19th century and was partially destroyed with the development of the Major Deegan Expressway. It will now be demolished and rebuilt over the next three years. 
    The next stairway of note (but not mentioned in the Wall Street Journal Article) is the Stairway to Heaven (John T. Brush Stairway) at Coogan's Bluff along Edgecombe Ave.
    John T. Brush Stairway
    This stairway has only recently been reconstructed with a generous gift from Major League Baseball, the Giants, the Mets, and the Yankees.

    Now that the High Bridge has been renovated, perhaps the powers that be might consider redoing the stairway on the Manhattan side of the High Bridge.  Right now it is a metal and wood stairway of about 103 stairs that is very steep.  It is currently impossible for bicyclists to go down or up without dismounting and carrying their bicycles or traveling down the trail to 165th St. and then returning back up to 173rd St. to get to the other end of the stairs.

    Wednesday, July 8, 2015

    Saturday, July 4, 2015

    Happy 167th Birthday to the High Bridge!

    July 4, 2015 is the 167th birth date of the opening of the High Bridge Aqueduct.  It was on July 4, 1848 that the first opening ceremony took place.  That was only 72 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the First Continental Congress.  At the time of the original opening of the High Bridge there were only two tubes carrying water over the Harlem River. The third, and largest tube, would not be completed for another 26 years, and the High Bridge Water Tower was, also, years away from being built. Attending the opening ceremony were a whole host of politicians and dignitaries, including the Mayor of New York City, William V. Brady, and Governor John Young. President James K. Polk was busy in Washington, D.C. on that day (see below).

    The Croton Aqueduct which traversed from the reservoir created from the dam of the Croton River in northern Westchester to the reservoir at 42nd Street had been completed in 1842 (see commemorative medal below), but the crossing of the river was accomplished, not by a bridge, but rather by a siphon tube under the river.  The High Bridge was completed, some six years later, on July 4, 1848 at a considerable additional cost. The High Bridge was built so that navigation of the Harlem River would not be impeded.  The irony is that some 79 years later, in 1927, the central portion of the High Bridge was replaced with a steel span to further improve the navigation.

    The opening of the High Bridge in New York City in 1848 coincided, to the day, with an elaborate cornerstone-laying ceremony for the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. that was attended by President James K. Polk and other dignitaries, among whom were Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, both members of the House of Representatives and future presidents themselves. The Washington Monument itself took another 36 years to complete, delayed by politics, financing, and civil war.   At this same ceremony photographer Mathew Brady took a picture of special attendee Dolley Madison, the wife of the fourth President of the United States. She was then 80 years old.
    Dolley Madison, July 4, 1848
    Later on in the day Polk signed the Peace Treaty with Mexico, ending the Mexican War.  He also proudly proclaimed the new flag of the United States to then have 30 stars with the annexation of Wisconsin as the 30th State on May 29, 1848. 

    In Seneca Falls, NY on this same day the Women's Declaration at the Seneca Falls Convention was signed, using the model of the US Declaration of Independence, forthrightly demanded that the rights of women as right-bearing individuals be acknowledged and respected by society. It was signed by sixty-eight women and thirty-two men. This marks the beginning of the Women's activist movement for equality by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. 

    Below is the commemorative medal issued on the opening day of the Croton Aqueduct and Reservoir on July 4, 1842:

    last modified November 10, 2015

    Wednesday, July 1, 2015

    The Town Shrink

    In an article, The Town Shrink, in the New York Times Magazine on June 23, 2015 by Robert Sullivan he makes a point of how important arterial connections are within a city like New York. He highlights work by "Mindy Thompson Fullilove, a research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute [and how she has] spent the past 30 years investigating how broken connections between various parts of cities harm public health and, more recently, [is] exploring ways to reconnect them."  The article goes on to point out the plight and resurrection of the High Bridge as an important artery for a vibrant city to continue to thrive.

    Another important article has appeared on July 1, 2015 in HyperAllergic  entitled "NYC’s Oldest Surviving Bridge Reopens After Four Decades of Decay."
    There was also a nice article in Mental Floss worth reading here.