Friday, May 14, 2010

Highbridge Park Update

An editorial in yesterday's New York Times touts the cultural and economic benefits of a renovated, re-opened Highbridge (left) pedestrian connection from the Bronx to Manhattan, drawing a parallel between it and the hugely successful (some might say soul-sucking) High Line (right) neighborhood transformation.

Last Christmas, ruminating on the chance of future restoration I observed:
"Unfortunately, that low, human scaled (possibly original?) wrought iron fence will be the first thing to go." Hardly rocket science, since today's building codes would never allow pedestrians to walk more than a hundred feet above a river with only a thirty inch high railing, but the end of the fence is now confirmed by the Times (italics mine):

"With a full restoration — including higher, more durable railings — this should again be a well-used public walkway, making it easier for people to walk from the Bronx to the swimming pool and recreation areas in the restored Highbridge Park on the river’s western bank."

Left, the current Manhattan side steel and barbed wire barrier to the Highbridge.

OK, I already know the answer, and it involves both irresponsible people and lawyers, but click back to the article and enlarge the Times photo from 1928 (the first one)-

Do you not ask yourself why those New Yorkers could stroll across this bridge without a 12' high, small-holed chain link fence (as we'll most likely be made to accept for the privilege of walking back and forth), and today's New Yorkers can't?

Interestingly, the Times tries to shame a few original Bronx locals that have made it big to step up and contribute their celebrity and their bank accounts to accelerate this project.

Seems only fair, and if they match the time, money and effort the Divine Miss M has contributed on the Manhattan Side, in no time I'll have the pleasure of photographing and complaining about a real fence, not musing on a future one.
I can't wait.

Highbridge Tower top detail (above)
All photos by me.

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