Anyone wishing to participate in or be kept informed of the design process for the bridge restoration should contact the Friends at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click HERE to download a PDF document of Friends' comments submitted during the design process.
The High Bridge, famed centerpiece of the Old Croton Aqueduct, carried Croton water across the Harlem River from the mainland to Manhattan in pipes still beneath its deck. A civic destination and public space and now New York City’s oldest bridge, it has never had vehicular traffic and never will. Though closed to the public for decades, today it is on the threshold of a new life: the design process that precedes its restoration and reopening by New York City is underway. The Friends have been active members of the steering committee of the High Bridge Coalition, a leader in the campaign to reopen the bridge, since the Coalition’s inception.
Chief Aqueduct engineer John B. Jervis designed the bridge’s 15 masonry arches in the style of the great Roman aqueduct crossings. It was completed in 1848, six years after the Aqueduct opened. In the interim, water crossed the river through temporary, low-level pipes. The bridge quickly became a popular public promenade, thronged by visitors enjoying the views and a favorite subject for artists and photographers. Edgar Allen Poe liked to stroll on it [see article in our Newsletter]. Restaurants and beer gardens sprang up on both banks to serve the burgeoning tourist trade.
In 1927-28, five arches were replaced by today’s single steel arch after public protests defeated a proposal to remove the bridge entirely as a hazard to navigation. The bridge is now a designated New York City landmark and, as part of the Old Croton Aqueduct, shares the Aqueduct’s National Historic Landmark designation. It connects the two parks - both named Highbridge Park - at either end, as well as the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx and Washington Heights in Manhattan. Beautiful High Bridge Tower (1872) rises above the bridge’s Manhattan terminus.