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Highbridge Water Tower


December 12, 2021 – New York, NY

Brochure & Map: Highbridge Park: A Guests Information

Avenue parking accessible close to Highbridge Recreation Heart – 2301 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10033

Please observe: There are a number of entry factors to succeed in the tower. The handle above will depart you closest to the tower.

Loos on web site – No entrance charges


Historical past:

The tower in Highbridge Park close to the west finish of Excessive Bridge was in-built 1872 as a part of the Croton Water System that introduced recent water to Manhattan. It was the primary water tower to be in-built Manhattan as a part of this technique and the one tower that survives. The octagonal construction is product of rough-cut stone and is nearly 400 ft above the excessive water degree of the close by Harlem River. The Highbridge Water Tower stopped getting used for the water provide system in 1949. The tower turned a New York Metropolis Landmark in 1967 and was listed within the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations in 1972. The tower was renovated in 1989 to 1990 and was closed once more for renovations round 2011, however reopened for scheduled excursions starting in November 2021.

Highbridge Water Tower - 1872

Highbridge Water Tower – 1872

Highbridge Tower - December 2021

Highbridge Tower – December 2021

The Excessive Bridge Tower is on the Manhattan finish of the famed Excessive Bridge, initially named the Aqueduct Bridge. It opened as a part of the Croton Aqueduct in 1848 and reopened as a pedestrian walkway in 2015 after being closed for over 45 years. Excessive Bridge is New York Metropolis’s oldest standing bridge and connects Manhattan and the Bronx, spanning the Harlem River. The Excessive Bridge connects the neighborhoods of Washington Heights in Manhattan and Highbridge within the Bronx, and is accessible from each boroughs.

High Bridge during construction

Excessive Bridge throughout development

The walkway was accomplished in 1864, making it a preferred spot to promenade on a pleasant day. After development of the Main Deegan Expressway in 1956 and Harlem River Drive in 1964, public use of the waterfront pale. The river turned polluted, paths had been blocked, and the pull of the parks on the water’s edge vanished. Within the 1970’s, public entry to the bridge was discontinued.

High Bridge

Excessive Bridge

Native stress to reopen the bridge started quickly after, and ultimately, teams reminiscent of The Excessive Bridge Coalition had been capable of coalesce that help right into a citizen-led marketing campaign to revive the Excessive Bridge and its neighboring parks. In 2012, NYC started rehabilitating the bridge, and it was reopened in June 2015, however the tower remained off limits.

High Bridge & Tower - 2015

Excessive Bridge & Tower – 2015

The 200-foot tall octagonal Tower was constructed to deliver recent consuming water to the very best factors in northern Manhattan. Water from the Croton Aqueduct began flowing within the decrease and center sections of the island in 1842 and the Excessive Bridge was accomplished in 1848, as a everlasting means to hold the aqueduct throughout the Harlem River.

Higher Manhattan was not served by the aqueduct that handed by it as a result of space’s hilly terrain. The system supplied water stress via gravity and subsequently areas increased than the Central Park Reservoir had been left excessive and dry.

To treatment this, New York Metropolis constructed the Excessive Service Water Works close to the Excessive Bridge, consisting of a number of services. The Highbridge Tower, accomplished in the summertime of 1872, is all that continues to be. Different parts that at the moment are lengthy gone and principally forgotten, included a reservoir, opened in 1870 and changed by the Highbridge Park pool within the mid 1930’s, plus pumping stations, a coal dock, and a coal shed.

High Bridge, High Service Water Works and Reservoir - 1871

Excessive Bridge, Excessive Service Water Works and Reservoir – 1871

The octagonal tower as soon as held a 47-thousand gallon water tank. A steam powered pumping station close to the bottom of the tower pumped water into the tank from an adjoining reservoir, now a public swimming pool. Because the water flowed again down from the tower down into metropolis pipes, gravity created water stress.

The Tower operated till December 15, 1949, when it was rendered pointless by a brand new electrical powered pumping station on Amsterdam Avenue. The Division of Water Provide, Fuel, and Electrical energy needed to raze the Tower, however it was preserved because of, of all individuals, Robert Moses in his capability as Parks Commissioner. Together with the Excessive Bridge, additionally mothballed in 1949, it was transferred to Parks jurisdiction in 1955.

Since then, it has hosted an electrical carillon, been designated a New York Metropolis Landmark, and was broken by a 1984 hearth and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.


Current Day:

Standing on a bluff 200 ft above the Harlem River, the not too long ago restored Excessive Bridge Water Tower is an iconic, but enigmatic landmark for a lot of New Yorkers. Constructed to deliver Croton water to the very best factors in northern Manhattan, the 200-foot tall construction is celebrating its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary in 2022.

Highbridge Tower - 2015

Highbridge Tower – 2015

Described in 1967 by the Landmarks Preservation Fee as “one among Manhattan’s most picturesque architectural monuments,” the Highbridge Water Tower reopened in October 2021 following a 5 million {dollars} restoration challenge. Whereas it not is a part of the town’s water system, the 200-foot landmark is the one one among its type that continues to be right this moment.

Beginning November 2021, the NYC City Park Rangers will lead free public excursions contained in the Highbridge Water Tower, which is able to stay closed to the general public in any respect different instances. The tour takes members inside the enduring tower whereas studying concerning the historical past of the town’s water provide from 200 ft above the Harlem River. Registration is required.


Tour Overview:

Public excursions of the within of the newly renovated Highbridge Tower started on November 21, 2021. We registered and attended a tour that was given on December 12, 2021. It was a blustery Saturday with temps within the excessive 30’s and having arrived early, we determined to stroll round just a little to remain heat.

Highbridge Tower - December 2021

Highbridge Tower – December 2021

We waited patiently for the NYC City Park Rangers to reach, and unlock the door so we might tour the within of this historic construction.

Highbridge Tower - December 2021

Highbridge Tower – December 2021

Highbridge Tower - December 2021

Highbridge Tower – December 2021

What’s now the Tower’s commentary degree initially housed a 47,000-gallon tank at an elevation of 336 ft. It’s a light-filled house, with two giant arch-shaped home windows on every of the tower’s eight partitions, facilitating tank inspections and repairs in an period earlier than electrical lighting. Right this moment they provide expansive vistas.

Highbridge Tower - December 2021

Highbridge Tower – December 2021

The latest renovation challenge included restoration of cracked granite, repointing, restoration of the iron staircase and iron railings, new 15-Foot-high home windows, repairs to the roof and weathervane, and a number of other security measures.

Highbridge Tower - December 2021

Highbridge Tower – December 2021

Highbridge Tower - December 2021

Highbridge Tower – December 2021

Highbridge Tower - December 2021

Highbridge Tower – December 2021

A view of Excessive Bridge from the bottom of the tower.

High Bridge – December 2021

Excessive Bridge – December 2021

View south of the Harlem River, with the Bronx on the left and Manhattan on the suitable.

looking south from the base of Highbridge Tower

trying south from the bottom of Highbridge Tower


The Tour:

Within the heart of the tower are the pipes that when transported water up and down the tower. We climbed the 174 steps to the highest of the Highbridge Water Tower to take pleasure in 360° views of NYC and elements of NJ.

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

All of the views are by glass, so bringing glass cleansing wipes is a good suggestion.

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Wanting north up the Harlem River to the Alexander Hamilton Bridge with the Washington Bridge simply past.

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Wanting southwest over the Highbridge Park Swimming pools and Washington Heights. A sliver of the Hudson River could be seen within the higher left.

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Wanting west on the George Washington Bridge.

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

A smaller spiral staircase, off limits to the general public, was initially a public lookout within the Tower’s slender cupola, however the present use of the outdated tank room offers a extra spacious vantage level.

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

The chapel model home windows close to the highest supply views of the George Washington Bridge, the swimming pool, and the Manhattan skyline.

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

Highbridge Tower Tour – December 2021

If you need to attend a free tour, led by the City Park Rangers, go to NYC Parks for extra data.


John T. Brush Stairway:

Should you get an opportunity to go to the Highbridge Water Tower, you could need to take a look at the John T. Brush Stairway. It’s slightly below a mile stroll by one of many park’s trails. You may as well stroll down Edgecombe Avenue as effectively.

Close to the southern finish of Highbridge Park is a promontory close to the western shore of the Harlem River named Coogan’s Bluff. A deep escarpment descends 175 ft from Edgecombe Avenue to the river, making a sheltered space between the bluff and river often called Coogan’s Hole. For 73 years, the hole was dwelling to the Polo Grounds stadium.

Fans on Coogan's Bluff watch a game between the Giants and Cubs at the Polo Grounds, September 23, 1908

Followers on Coogan’s Bluff watch a sport between the Giants and Cubs on the Polo Grounds, September 23, 1908

From 1890 till 1963, the bluff ignored the Polo Grounds, knowledgeable sports activities venue that served as dwelling area for Main League Baseball’s New York Giants from 1891 till the franchise’s transfer to San Francisco on the finish of the 1957 season. Sportswriters generally used Coogan’s Bluff as a nickname for the Polo Grounds, as Chavez Ravine now refers to Dodger Stadium, though the ballpark was really located in Coogan’s Hole, the bottomland between the bluff and the river.

Coogan’s Bluff had lengthy been a type of Tightwad Hill for native followers, a spot the place these unwilling or unable to pay the stadium’s entrance price had a transparent, if distant, view of the proceedings at no cost.

For practically a half-century, the stairway performed a special position, carrying tenants to a high-rise housing challenge that changed the Polo Grounds, and till not too long ago that they had crumbled right into a dim reminder of a once-proud, bygone period.

John T. Brush Stairway

John T. Brush Stairway

John T. Brush Stairway

John T. Brush Stairway

The unique metal lettering remained intact for the previous century, though corners of the touchdown had damaged away. Throughout restoration, the touchdown was returned to its unique look.

John T. Brush Stairway

John T. Brush Stairway

In 2011, the New York Metropolis Parks and Recreation Division launched a $950,000 restoration challenge and the stairway reopened in 2013. Main League Baseball gave $50,000 to the challenge, together with different outdated Polo Grounds tenants, the San Francisco Giants; the Yankees, who performed there from 1913-23; the Mets; the New York Jets (nee Titans), who performed their first 4 AFL seasons there, and the New York soccer Giants, who performed there from 1925-55.

John T. Brush Stairway - High Bridge Park

John T. Brush Stairway – Excessive Bridge Park

John T. Brush Stairway - High Bridge Park

John T. Brush Stairway – Excessive Bridge Park

John T. Brush Stairway - High Bridge Park

John T. Brush Stairway – Excessive Bridge Park

About midway up the stairway there’s a touchdown, earlier than the steps flip left to the highest of Coogan’s Bluff (Edgecombe Avenue). Metal letters within the concrete touchdown learn: “The John T. Brush Stairway. Introduced by the New York Giants.”

John T. Brush Stairway - High Bridge Park

John T. Brush Stairway – Excessive Bridge Park

John T. Brush Stairway - High Bridge Park

John T. Brush Stairway – Excessive Bridge Park


Sources:




Positive Recharge
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