By Keith Danish
The historic “High Bridge” reopened on June 9, 2015, for bicycling and walking, after more than 40 years of closure. It was built in 1848 as part of the Croton Aqeduct system. The bridge crosses the Harlem River, and will provide a useful link from Washington Heights (in Manhattan) to the High Bridge neighborhood in the Bronx. For cyclists, it provides a safer route to the Bronx than the old “Washington Bridge” at 181st Street, which parallels the Cross-Bronx Expressway.
From Fort Lee Historic Park, it is about a 3-mile bike ride across the George Washington Bridge and upper Manhattan to the western end of High Bridge. The High Bridge walkway is wide and no stair-climbing is required.
To approach High Bridge by bike, you go to 165th Street and Edgecombe Avenue. There is a park and playground and a sign for “High Bridge Park”. You enter the park and proceed down a paved bike/walk trail, for a few blocks through the park, to the Manhattan end of the High Bridge path. One can also ap- proach the bridge on foot by entering the park at Amsterdam Avenue and 174th Street and walking towards the tall water tower. At the base of the tower one descends a long stairway that ends right near the bridge path.
At the Bronx end of the bridge, you come out at 170th Street and University Boulevard (also called Dr. M.L. King Blvd.). From there, it is a short ride to Yankee Stadium which offers free bike-rack parking inside their auto garage. Other nearby destinations include Roberto Clemente State Park, with its large outdoor pool, and the “Hall of Fame” on the terrace of the beautiful Gould Library at the Bronx Community College campus. (The library was designed by Stanford White and built in 1900.) The High Bridge short-cut also facilitates bike rides to the Little Italy neighborhood near Fordham University, as well as the Bronx Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
On the Manhattan side, you can check out the landmark Morris- Jumel Mansion, built in 1765, at 161st Street and Edgecombe Avenue, and the Sylvan Terrace Mews, built 1890-1902, with 50 wooden row houses on a cobblestone street (a block west of Morris-Jumel). Also, in the Trinity Church Cemetery at 155th Street between Broadway and Am- sterdam Avenue, you can visit famous New Yorkers such as Audubon, Ed Koch, Jerry Orbach, and some of the Astors.
Further information about the High Bridge can be found at “nyc- govparks.org”. All NYC cycling en- thusiasts (like myself) will appreciate this new link in the city’s network of bicycle paths and routes.