Henry Hudson Bridge, Aerial ViewPhoto courtesy of MTA Bridges and Tunnels Special Archive. Left the Inwood Hill Park, behind the bridge is the Empire Connection railroad line.
The Henry Hudson Bridge carries the Henry Hudson Parkway over the Hudson River between the Bronx and Inwood Hill Park in Manhattan. The idea of a bridge in that spot had been raised as early as 1906, but resistance from local residents, among other things, prevented its construction until the 1930s, when Robert Moses became involved. While resistance to the location remained, in part because of the way the bridge would disturb the serenity of Inwood Hill Park, Moses was able to push the project through. He was determined to get this particular location in large part so that he could secure federal aid. As Christopher Gray of the New York Times explains, “Moses was allowed to use free federal labor on ‘park access roads,’ which is how he designated his highway through Inwood Hill Park. The park site also provided land at no cost…”
The bridge was designed by Moses’ chief architect Aymar Embury, paid, like thousands of Parks Department designers at the time, by New Deal funds. When the bridge opened in December, 1936, it was met with great admiration. It was “an 800-foot-long steel arch 142 feet above the Harlem River, its giant span connecting the two verdant promontories to the north and south — and running a highway right through them. The Times gave it cautionary praise, editorializing that ‘in this instance the end has gloriously justified the means’ ” (NYTimes).
In 1938, with increasing toll revenue, Moses and his team were able to add a second deck to the bridge.
As Frank da Cruz explains here, much of the labor for this project would have been provided by relief workers from the Civil Works Administration (1933-34), Federal Emergency Management Administration (1933-35), or Works Progress Administration (1935-42).
"Streetscapes/Henry Hudson Bridge; A Controversial '36 Span Through Dreamy Isolation", New York Times, August 10, 2003 Riverside Park New Deal Sites - kermitproject.org Robert Moses and the Modern Park System (1929-1965), New York City Parks Department website Caro, Robert, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. Vintage Books (1974), pp.526-540. New Deal Assistance in NYC Parks Department Projects, 1934-43.
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on August 2, 2015.
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