In this era of instant news, a week feels like a long time. A campaign lasting 14 years seems immeasurable. But tomorrow, just such a campaign culminates — when the High Bridge, a long-forgotten treasure of the city, reopens to the public. The idea started right here.
On March 11, 2001, in this space, there appeared a very unusual editorial, an entire page devoted to the need to restore and reopen a bridge over which no cars or trains can travel.
It explained that the High Bridge, the city’s oldest span, was the single most important piece of infrastructure in New York’s long history — completed in 1848 as an aqueduct to deliver a steady flow of clean water to the thirsty, dirty, growing metropolis. No water, no city. Simple as that.
...this page started its lonely crusade — yielding progress in fits and starts. It started with an inspection in the Rudy Giuliani years. Rep. José Serrano early on secured $5 million for the project. He deserves a place of honor.
Under Mike Bloomberg and his Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, plans accelerated. With the commitment of $48 million in 2007, the heavy preservation work started. The $61.7 million endeavor was finalized under Mayor de Blasio.
This was no ordinary rehab. Masonry and steel had to be reviewed by scuba divers. All was solid. The old-timers knew their craft. The bridge was cleaned with care by the Department of Design and Construction under Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora for Parks Commissioner Mitch Silver. We give a special salute to Ellen Macnow, who has shepherded the project since the start.
- The Bronx gets a refurbished High Bridge
- Manhattan gets the High Line
- Brooklyn gets Brooklyn Bridge Park and
- Queens gets... a coat of paint on the NYS Pavilion.