The double-decker Henry Hudson Bridge, which links Manhattan to the Bronx, is 75 today! Originally designed for a casual jaunt in and out of the suburbs, the bridge became a thoroughfare once commuters started moving north. The Riverdale Public Library is celebrating the bridge’s dodrascentennial (thanks, Google!) with a month-long exhibit featuring Depression-era photographs of the bridge’s construction.
When the 800-foot bridge opened on December 12, 1936, the Henry Hudson spanned the Spuyten Duyvil Creek and was the world’s longest plate-girder, fixed arch bridge. It was built in a series of Robert Moses’ whirlwind construction projects, having opened five months after the Triborough Bridge. The inevitable controversy was relatively little; Moses just had to bulldoze an Inwood Hill Park tulip tree to placate the residents and reduce the bridge to four lanes. (Of course, he added an upper deck two years later.)
The entire lower level was replaced in 2010 as part of an $86 million rehabilitation project, along with the northern support structure and the pedestrian walkway. Another project will last three years and $33 million to replace the upper-level steel support structure.
The bridge has a daily traffic of 63,000 cars, and the current toll for the bridge costs $5, which means a lot of drivers would rather just take the free Broadway Bridge to the Bronx. For the commuters, though, the bridge is a vital part of the trip into the city, so on your way home today, wish it a happy 75th!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 12, 2011