June 9, 2015
Originally, the Harlem River-spanning was an aqueduct, serving as New York City’s sole access to clean water. Since converted to a pedestrian bridge, this forgotten gem of New York City’s history has been closed to the public for 40 years. On Tuesday, Commissioner Peña-Mora, along with NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver and several other civic and community leaders, celebrated the reopening of this crucial link between Manhattan and the Bronx.
Parks and DDC restored and improved the 1,450-foot-long, 123-foot high bridge, making it safe and accessible to the public. As the only interborough bridge designed exclusively for pedestrians and bicyclists, the restoration of the High Bridge provides both Manhattan and the Bronx with more than 125 acres of green space, with baseball fields and basketball courts.
Just in time for summer, the bridge will make it easier for local residents to walk to and from the Highbridge pool and Recreation Center. The improved design will also allow pedestrians to enjoy new features including a hand-restored brick walkway, new safety railings, barrier-free access, new architectural lighting, and a renovated steel and masonry structure.
“At DDC, we are committed to strengthening our agency’s connection to the communities we serve and to making our City’s infrastructure more resilient and environmentally-sustainable. The High Bridge satisfies all of these important components,” noted Commissioner Peña-Mora. “This bridge is very important to me personally; as a new arrival to America, I lived right across from it, in Washington Heights. I used to marvel at it when I was growing up, and now as the Commissioner of our City’s primary capital construction agency, I am inspired by it. It is truly exciting to be here at the ribbon cutting of the new High Bridge, to celebrate such an important part of our City’s engineering past, while also looking forward to the endless possibilities that this bridge will provide for future generations. DDC is proud to have partnered with DPR, our local elected officials and community stakeholders, on this important project.”
As the oldest standing bridge in New York City, the High Bridge will continue to inspire and serve as an educational tool. The Bronx Children’s Museum has launched children’s programming, including an illustrated book by Sonia Manzano (“Maria,” Sesame Street) to help welcome the High Bridge back to the community.