As I was writing about Highbridge Park yesterday, I realized that I'd never been to the new pedestrian walkway on the refurbished High Bridge, even though it had been open for months. So during my mid-afternoon walk with Henry, I took a left on Amsterdam Avenue and steered him downtown.
It's not the nicest walk from my block to 172nd St, passing a couple off-ramps onto the Harlem River Drive, crossing the US1/Trans-Manhattan Expressway/I-95 overpass as it ducks under the Bridge Apartments, and strolling by some sketchy blocks of liquor stores and auto parts and dodgy bodegas. I was the only blanco for blocks, and while that doesn't bother me -- I'm certainly used to it -- it's always a little notable. I've always found it best not to stand out on the streets of NYC.
Henry doesn't really help with remaining inconspicuous as would be my preferred mode. He's much more friendly and social than I am, saying hi to everyone we walk by. So far it hasn't gotten us into trouble, but I'm still guarded about interacting with strangers on the street and probably that won't stop anytime soon.
Anyway, we got to the Highbridge Play Center, where there's an enormous public pool. We skirted that, and walked across the lawns of the park alongside the pool and through a couple of birthday parties and exercise classes to the steep stairs down the cliff that led to the High Bridge. There was a good sized crowd navigating the steps with us, neighborhood kids with their parents and tourists and downtown folk on an uptown excursion.
The pedestrian walkway is quite attractive, with red brick across the bridge. The view is both industrial and pastoral, with the park along the Manhattan side, and the transportation hubs and Metro North railway on the Bronx side. Facing south, the skyscrapers of downtown jut into the haze, while uptown the river snakes around a bend, crossing back across the tip of Manhattan toward the Hudson. The tall fence of wire netting along either side isn't particularly aesthetically pleasing, but preventing jumpers must be a priority, I suppose.
Henry and I walked across the bridge, stopping just over the river on the Bronx side, and back again, and then headed back up the stairs, around the pool filled with buff Dominicans and excited children, and along the rough streets of uptown, heading toward home again.