Saturday, January 23, 2016

Road & Bridges Names High Bridge One of the Top 10 Bridges of 2015

Road & Bridges Magazine has awarded New York's High Bridge Aqueduct over the Harlem River with an award as one of the Top 10 Bridges of the year 2015.

The High Bridge, decommissioned since 1970, is the oldest bridge in the city of New York, opened originally in 1848 as a means of delivering water to Manhattan. Today, the bridge features a 466-ft-long, three-hinged steel arch spanning the Harlem River and 10 extant granite arches spanning Harlem River Drive, I-87, Metro North Railroad and a smattering of other city streets. The shared-use bridge is being constructed with preservation and rehabilitation methods in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Preservation of Historic Properties. The bridge also will be ADA compliant.

LOCATION: Bronx, New York City, N.Y.
COST: $52 million
LENGTH: 1,450 ft
DESIGNER: TranSystems
CONTRACTOR: Schiavone Construction Co. LLC
OWNER: City of New York Parks and Recreation

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Photograph of High Bridge by Paul Quinones

High Bridge Light Trails by Paul Quinones

Paul Quinones has really outdone himself with this long exposure of The High Bridge.    Paul is a photographer in NYC who does photos like this as well as portraits and event sessions. You may see more of Paul's work at his website.  Check him out.  Thank you Paul for sharing this picture with us.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Copyright Friends of the High Bridge, LTD, with permission. All rights reserved.
Click on picture above to enlarge

While there are many old photographs and lithographs depicting the High Bridge, there are relatively few actual photographs, or in this case, stereographs, of the High Bridge taken during the period of time from when it was completed in 1848, and 1861, when the third tube was added to increase the capacity of the the aqueduct, and the height of the aqueduct was raised to accommodate the new tube, and the pedestrian walkway was altered.

Notice that on the two stereographs above, on the sides of the deck of the bridge, there are walls which are higher than the center pedestrian walkway.  These pictures were clearly taken before the larger center tube was installed during the 1861-1862 enlargement when the center tube was added. 

Below is a side view of the aqueduct during this period.

When altered, the new tube was placed between and slightly above the other two original tubes resulting in the surface of the pedestrian walkway on top having to be raised about six feet. See the illustration below.

Illustration from 

The Water Supply of the City of New York, 1658-1895

By Edward Wegmann

This, in turn, eliminated the walls on the walkway.  Actually, the walls are still there but the surface was raised to a level higher than the top of the walls.  The walls were then raised a few feet to allow the new surface of paver bricks to be level to the edge. A railing was installed to protect the pedestrians from falling off. Notice also that this (the original configuration of the deck of the bridge) is the configuration that shows in the sketch of Poe crossing the High Bridge from presumably the late 1840s. The first two stereoviews appears to have been taken facing toward Manhattan. There is no pumping station, reservoir or tower visible either.

Notice also that the men in the picture are wearing top hats resembling stove pipes, which were all the rage in the 1850s. The picture of Abraham Lincoln on the right in his stove top hat should be familiar to most readers.

We are not aware of other photographics picture of the deck of the bridge from before the center tube was added. The pictures above were taken between 1848, when the High Bridge was originally completed and about 1860, when the construction of the center tube started.  Most likely this pictures were taken some time during the 1850s.

Here (below) is another photograph of the deck just as they are installing the brick pavers after the third tube was installed (c. 1862-3).  Note that the bricks come up to the top of the wall.

High Bridge, c. 1862-3
Here is the High Bridge during the installation of the third tube, before the brick pavers were installed:

The picture below is from the period of time in 1927-9 when they removed the arches in the Harlem River and replaced them with the steel arch.

You should be able to see the original top of the walls (horizontally oriented cross section) with the additional stone (square cross section) added to raise the wall making the deck level such that the brick pavers can clear the new third tube.

Also note the building on top of the hill to the right of the High Bridge in the first three photos of the High Bridge above. It is harder to see the building in the first photo, but you can clearly make out the pattern of the windows and the shape of the building in both photos.  If you have any doubts, look at this next picture.

The building is still up there on the right, but now you see the tower, the reservoir and the pumping station.  Also, note the brick pavers all the way to the top surface of the walls and the railings installed.

last modified 5/17/2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Harlem River Bridges Photography Exhibit by Duane Bailey-Castro at Montefiore

The ARTViews Gallery at Montefiore

Connecting People, Strengthening Communities: 
The Harlem River Bridges
Duane Bailey-Castro, Photographer

January 11th – April 1st, 2016
Montefiore Health System
Moses Campus
111 East 210th Street, Bronx, New York 10467
Open Daily 8am - 5pm

                                           Sponsored by                              

In a review of the Duane Baily-Castro's exhibit by Untapped Cities they have said it is "stunning... and puts a spotlight on the often overlooked waterway and its fifteen bridges that connect the Bronx and upper Manhattan," and that the exhibit "is both an expression of his personal relationship with the Harlem River and its bridges and an effort to increase public awareness of their historical and architectural significance."

Bridges over Harlem River, Harper's Weekly, 1882
last modified 1/27/16

Friday, January 8, 2016

Imagine a High Bridge Cafe

High Bridge Café, Lincoln, UK

We have posted about the High Bridge in Lincoln, UK on this blog before, but I had no idea that the building on the bridge is, in fact, now occupied by a café.  The Stokes High Bridge in Lincoln was built about 1160 AD and is believed to be the oldest building on a bridge in the UK still standing. Now, we have just received the information below which makes one imagine what could be at or near our historic High Bridge over the Harlem River.  Please pardon the British language below, but a local frequenter of the Stokes café says,

"An excellent Tudor style coffee house situated in the centre of Lincoln by the canal. Waitress service no paper cups and to cap it all they do a very good egg and sausage sandwich. The coffee is excellent, the café a little bit on the cold side first thing, but there are soon queues for tables.

The quainter dinning areas are upstairs but there is no lift so difficult if you have mobility issues. The shop on the ground floor sells some interesting local produce as well."

Stokes on High Bridge, in an Elizabethan building, on a Norman Bridge over the River Witham flowing through the centre of Lincoln, is one of the top coffee shops in the country.

last modified 1/14/1016

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Curious Ephemera from Busnesses Local to Highbridge Park from the Distant Past

This is a receipt from January 25th, 1889 for funeral arrangements by L. Sanger, located at the northwest corner of 10th Ave. (now, Amsterdam) and 156th St., for one Alexander Hutcheon.  Total cost for the services provided was $161.70.

L. Sanger was an undertaker known in the Washington Heights area during the 1870s to near the end of the century. If anyone has more information on them please comment.

Above we have an advertising blotter for L. Horvath, General Manager of his establishement where he repaired bicycles, victrolas, phonographs, and baby carriages; bought, sold & exchanged bicycles; rented bicycles by the hour or day; made custom radios & ground skates.  Now there is a mouthful of services.  His establishment was located at 2240 Amsterdam Ave. between 171st and 172nd Streets.
Where is he now that we need him.  This was clearly from the early days of the 20th century. Does anyone remember this establishment?

Big Apples’s Big Bike Numbers

In a new post on Price Tags by Ken Ohrn dives into the statistics associated with the Citi Bike endeavor in NYC. Usage is increasing steadily and the coverage area is growing too.  However, if you look at the area of coverage it will not come anywhere near the High Bridge for years to come. Let's try real hard to find a company to serve the area.  Surely there is ample space in the Highbridge area for the bicycles to be stored, maintained, and rented. Let's hear from you if this is what you want in the neighborhood.