simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Sin of Omission
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Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Sin of Omission

I'm always looking for nooks and crannies, but like Italian hill towns, finding hidden gems in a densely populated and/or heavily visited place is extremely difficult. Most often, the hidden or undiscovered in NYC is remote, literally at the ends and edges of the boroughs, far from where any resident or visitor would typically go.
This is the case with the Ward's Island Bridge which spans the Harlem River between East 103rd Street in Manhattan and Ward's Island, giving access to Ward's Island Park with wonderful views, biking paths and athletic facilities (the island is also home to a psychiatric center, homeless shelter and a wastewater treatment plant). Read more about the island here.
The bridge is unique - it is the only bridge in NYC, spanning a major river, which is open to pedestrians only (bicycles are also permitted). Only 12 feet wide, it is a lift bridge - the center section (100m) lifts to accommodate tall ships. A wooden drawbridge spanning the river was built in 1807 by Bartholomew Ward to aid his cotton business on the island. It was destroyed by a storm in 1821. Ward's Island Bridge was built in 1951 and designed by Othmar Hermann Ammann. The bridge is closed during the winter months (November through March) when it is left in the raised (closed) position.
I love the colors of this small bridge - a pleasant improvement on the typical gray. In 1976, it was painted brighter colors - blue-violet towers, vermillion trim and yellow walkways. It was later repainted to its current, more subdued scheme, with a blue span and blue and green towers.
I admit to a sin of omission - I've never been to Ward's Island or taken the Ward's Island Footbridge. I plan to redeem myself soon and go there one it opens in the spring ...


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