High on the High Bridge

On September 1, a group of WMF staff members visited the High Bridge on a cloudless and warm summer morning. We met Ellen Macnow, the Parks Department's High Bridge project coordinator, in front of the Highbridge Park Rec Center and Pool in northern Manhattan and walked to the water tower overlooking the Harlem River and the High Bridge.

The High Bridge, completed in 1848, is NYC's oldest standing bridge and was originally part of the Old Croton Aqueduct, which carried water by gravity alone to supply all of New York City. The High Bridge linked the Bronx with Manhattan over the Harlem River. After a brief introduction to the history of the bridge, we descended the steep staircase and passed through the locked rusty doorway onto the bridge. We meandered across the bridge, took photos of the riverbanks and highways and arrived in the Bronx. We got to go inside the gatehouse, where you can still see the tunnel through which the water flowed. Back in Manhattan, we thanked Ellen for the tour and somewhat begrudgingly headed back to the office.

The High Bridge itself is closed to visitors at the moment, but Highbridge Park has lots of amenities.