The High Bridge, New York City’s Newest Park

The High Bridge, a pedestrian bridge connecting Washington Heights to the Bronx, reopens as a park, after 40 years of being closed to the public.

It’s not everyday that New York City opens a new park–especially when that park is actually 167 years old. Proving that with enough money and effort everything old truly can be made new again, the High Bridge opened to the public last month for the first time in more than 40 years. The 1450-foot-long pedestrian bridge connects High Bridge Park in upper Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood to the Highbridge (see a theme here?) section of the Bronx.

To celebrate, NYC Parks is hosting the High Bridge Festival from 12-4 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, on both the Bronx and Manhattan sides of the bridge. The event is free and will feature walking tours, a scavenger hunt, and a “Bridge Making Workshop” presented by the Bronx Children’s Museum.

Originally built in 1848 as an aqueduct bringing fresh water to the growing New York City population from Westchester, the High Bridge is New York City’s oldest still-standing bridge.  Open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., it offers spectacular views both up and down the Harlem River, a peaceful place to stroll or bike, and a convenient, direct way to commute between these neighborhoods.

The entrances to the bridge are in High Bridge Park on the Manhattan side and at University Ave. and 170 St. on the Bronx side. Beware that you’ll need to go down—and, of course, back up—a ton of stairs on the Manhattan side, unless you use the ramp entrance at 167th Street and Edgecombe Avenue.

To get there, take the 1 or A trains to 168 St., or the 1 to Dykman St. By bus, take the M100, also to Dykman (and 10th Ave.). If you’re driving, beware, parking can be tough. 

The High Bridge renovation was the result of years of advocacy by grassroots local groups. The new park offers a peaceful, innovative use of what was an abandoned space, which some have compared to the High Line much further downtown. 

To search for more upcoming events, search our calendar.

Watch this video from the NYC Parks Department to learn more about what went into renovating and reopening the High Bridge:

Image above: Malcolm Pinckney, courtesy NYC Parks.