Alexander Hamilton Bridge
The Alexander Hamilton Bridge carries I-95 traffic from the George Washington Bridge across the Harlem River (at 179th Street) to the notorious Cross Bronx Expressway. The bridge is supported by a single 555-foot steel arch that clears the river at 135 feet above mean high water. The bridge opened on January 15, 1963, the same day as the Cross Bronx Expressway
On my initial excursion, I was surprised to find a largely abandoned section of Highbridge Park between the Washington Bridge and the Alexander Hamilton Bridge that includes a spooky but festive red brick promenade with sensual curves that drug dealers love so much.
There is a stair and tunnel retaining wall structure between the Alexander Hamilton Bridge and Washington Bridge that leads from Highbridge Park down to a narrow pathway on the West side of the Harlem River Drive. It was built as part of the New Croton Aqueduct (ca. 1885-1893) which crosses under the river at that spot. On 21 January 1897, during the course of construction of Shaft #25 (a vertical shaft on the Manhattan side of the river that met the horizontal water tunnel under the river) there was a rock slide at the cliff near the work site. This structure is the second of two built to stabilize the cliff, and included the ornamental stairway to allow pedestrian access to what was then the new Harlem River Speedway. It is stylistically similar to a likewise abandoned structure on the other side of the island by the George Washington Bridge. (thanks to Michael Miscione for this info)
The approaches to the Alexander Hamilton Bridge are a nightmarish maze of spaghetti viaducts. The brick and concrete arched approaches from the Southwest are especially interesting. The smell of campfires indicates refuge for a few homeless people. A gentlemen in fatigues approached me menacingly, but only asked for a cigarette (I don't smoke) and didn't seem too upset that I couldn't accomodate him.
Next: Broadway Bridge