Thursday, June 11, 2015

High Bridge

Back in the 1800's the city of NY had to transport water from upstate to meet the needs of a growing metropolis. Bringing the water over the Harlem River required an aqueduct similar to those built by the Romans. A reservoir was built in Washington Heights and the High Bridge Aqueduct transported the water over the river. By 1870 the High Bridge had become a popular destination for day trips.

The High Bridge fell into disuse and had been closed for more than four decades. It reopened on Tuesday after a $61.8 million renovation. Dick and I headed there today. We took the A train to 168th Street and walked a few blocks to Highbridge Park in Washington Heights. We walked past the city swimming pool (formerly the site of the reservoir) which was swarming with workers preparing it for the season's opening. We could see the High Bridge Water Tower uphill and knew the entrance to the bridge was nearby. What we didn't know was we would have to descend a very long, steep stairway to access the bridge. 

I'm at the bottom and Dick is negotiating his way down. We wondered how this newly renovated park was not handicapped accessible.  It wasn't until we both reached the foot of the stairs that we saw the sign for the bicycle and wheel chair access from 167th Street. We used the bike path to make our way back to the Subway as the stairs would have been a formidable challenge in today's heat and humidity. 

We walked across to the Bronx, observing the incredible traffic trying to access the George Washington Bridge and the Harlem River below. At one point, two personal water craft went zooming by. When we turned around to walk back, we had this amazing view of the High Bridge Water Tower. 

We made our way back to St. Nicholas Ave, got lunch and drinks at a Starbucks and headed back downtown on the Subway. We made it to Penn Station in time to catch the Raritan Valley Line's last one seat ride of the day. It's always a nicer trip when you don't have to change trains in Newark.