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.


  1. Yes, I have been visiting out to San Francisco and the stairway streets are so beautiful. The local residents keep the plants real pretty and keep them clean. Please, New Yorkers, lets improve the stairways and make them a pleasure to be on.

  2. Astro (Ft. Washington)July 9, 2015 at 3:53 PM

    I like the idea of redoing the stairway on the Manhattan side. The current one is old and steep and not good for many, especially the young and the elderly to go up and down, and certainly not for bicyclists. A ramp weaving back and forth down the hill would be a welcome addition.