NYC’S Oldest Bridge Re-Opens Above the Harlem River This July

The High Bridge in present day. Photo:
The High Bridge in present day. photo:

New York’s City’s High Bridge, while currently in a dormant and closed-off state since the mid-1970s, is set to reopen to the public this summer, as a five year plan to rejuvenate one of the city’s oldest functioning relics nears completion.

Although public hearings began over design concerns in 2010, construction on the new High Bridge commenced in August 2012, after a bidding competition granted the Schiavone Construction Co. responsibility over the building contract. The project, although tentatively near completion, won’t see the newly minted High Bridge open until July 25th, when the city will welcome the public to an unveiling ceremony that will boast attractions like public art and guided tours.

Interestingly, the High Bridge, which was originally built in 1848 to funnel water down from Westchester to Manhattan as part of the Croton Aqueduct System, will be standing on top the system’s original pipes (yay history!), so you’ll get to traverse some of NYC’s original infrastructure, if you so choose to stroll down its broad path.

The High Bridge was sort of like “a 19th century high-line,” according to the city’s Parks and Rec. Department, that functioned kind of like a socialite’s walkway in the sky. It was a popular attraction for the city’s slow-walking gentry to gaze out onto the Harlem River to watch boat races as horse-drawn buggies sped by on a path below.

The High Bridge in 2015 however shouldn’t reinforce any boundaries between New Yorkers (after all, the bridge unites Manhattan and the Bronx), and should be pretty impressive once it’s open. According to NYC Parks,  over $100 million was raised to fund the project.

Check out some historical and present day photos (and a 19th century painting) of the High Bridge below:

The High Bridge's original pipes. Photo:
The High Bridge’s original pipes. Photo:


19th century painting of the High Bridge. Photo:
19th century painting of the High Bridge. Photo:


High Bridge in the 1950s. Photo:
High Bridge in the 1950s. Photo:



  1. Great article. For all the latest developments on the High Bridge, Highbridge Park, and the surrounding areas see


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