Today the people of The Bronx celebrated its newest park as a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for Bridge Park with NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver along with local politicians and school children.
Although the park was completed in 2013, it wasn’t until today that the park was officially opened due to construction work that was being done along I 95 leading to the George Washington Bridge which is directly above the southern and main entrance to the park. The park straddles and connects the neighborhoods of University Heights and Highbridge.
The park offers beautiful vistas of the Harlem River and the many scenic bridges that cross over it into Manhattan including the soon-to-open Highbridge which will have a celebration on both sides of the bridge on July 25th of this year.
Bridge Park was constructed (or rather upgraded since it was once originally called Washington Bridge Park and was utilized as such between 1888 and 1890) to the tune of $4.054 million with funds coming form a Federal grant, Council Member Vanessa Gibson’s office and the Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz Jr’s office as well.
This beautiful waterfront park runs about half a mile from under I-95 up to River Park Towers where it connects to the promenade surrounding that property and leads straight into Roberto Clemente State Park. There are approximately 4 additional acres adjacent and directly south of the park which still needs funding and would extend the park down under the Highbridge.
The addition of this newly minted park is yet another piece in the puzzle to create a contiguous greenway from the North Bronx straight down the Harlem River and connecting to the vision that is the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan.
Already Mill Pond Park just north of 149th Street and the 145th Street Bridge has proven a major success in the area, stretching from 150th Street to 153rd Street which includes 16 tennis courts, a tennis club house and will be the future home of the Bronx Children’s Museum. This park also has a plot of land between the 145th Street Bridge and the park itself waiting for funding to develop it as well.
With Mayor de Blasio’s administration dumping $200 million into the Special Harlem River Waterfront District, this area could eventually create a ribbon that would wrap around the South Bronx and connect with the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan creating virtually uninterrupted access to the waterfront for the Western and Southern neighborhoods of The Bronx which lack sufficient access when compared with all the other 4 boroughs.
While Bridge Park is absolutely beautiful, the one criticism that I do have is access to it. There is no easy way to access the park and getting there is not pedestrian or cyclist friendly whatsoever so you have to be extremely careful when going there especially if on bike.
Hope you all enjoy our latest park and let’s keep on pushing for more and more access to the waterfront. Access to our most precious resources is a basic human right not an amenity we should have to fight for.
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