The High Bridge reopened to the public early last month after some four decades, thanks to a three-year, $61.8 million renovation, and there was much rejoicing. Yesterday the Parks Department kept the party rolling with the High Bridge Festival, a two-borough jam encompassing both the Manhattan and the Bronx sides of the grand pedestrian span.
There were lots of family-friendly games and activities at the festival, as well as freebies like buckets of popcorn and sunglasses, plenty of music (including Jose Peña Suazo in the evening), a giraffe-head (?) parade, and free walking tours. The High Bridge was constructed in 1848 as part of the Croton Aqueduct system, and it's the oldest standing bridge in New York City, so there's plenty of history, trivia, and local lore surrounding the span.
Several park department officials and politicians were on hand, of course, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, but they all kept it admirably brief on the mic. Although the High Bridge is something of a political triumph, the whole point of the day was to let the people enjoy their beautiful new bridge, and the suddenly-close physical connection between the two communities. Which everyone did.
Total bonus for the Bronx kids: instant easy access to the huge swimming pool on the Manhattan side.