Earlier today the High Bridge reopened after a way-too-long closure—45 years, to be exact. The bridge, NYC's oldest standing bridge, serves pedestrians and cyclists (no motorists), and connects the Bronx to Manhattan.

The bridge opened in 1848, spanning the Harlem River to connect the area around West 170th Street in the Bronx to the area around West 173rd Street in Manhattan. It's a little over 2,000 feet in length, and 140-feet high.

highbridge1901.jpg
circa 1901. (Courtesy of the NYPL)

The landmarked bridge was originally part of the Old Croton Aqueduct, which brought NYC its clean water. Today, it will not only serve to connect the boroughs, but the surrounding area now includes more than 125 acres of green space with baseball fields and basketball courts (which opened a few years ago). While you'll also notice some new, finer details, like the manhole-sized plaques embedded in the walkway, do a little exploring for some history. There's an old stone building at the Manhattan entrance, and on the Bronx side there's a wall that we were told was built by the crew that originally built the bridge.

The project has been in view for about a decade, and cost around $61.8 million—funds were provided by the City of New York through PlaNYC, the Honorable José E. Serrano, and the Federal Highway Administration. Today's grand reopening turnout included reps from the city, as well as Sonia Manzano (Maria from Sesame Street), who just wrote a children's book about the bridge.

Click through for a look at the bridge from earlier today—and head over there yourself. It will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.