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Harlem River Waterfront

The High Bridge was built to cross the natural valley of the Harlem River. In its heyday, the bridge was a major destination. Popular day trips included visits to the countryside to picnic and promenade across the bridge. Equally popular were boat cruises up and down the river, and racing competitions for crew boats. One of the earlier photographs of the High Bridge shows young boys fishing. Later, once the Harlem River Speedway was opened in 1898, sightseers strolled along the new waterfront esplanade in the cool breezes and watched horses and buggies fly by.

After construction of the Major Deegan Expressway and Harlem River Driveway, public use of the waterfront faded. The river had become polluted over time, many paths were blocked, and the magnetic pull of the parks on the water's edge vanished.

All of these areas are being reclaimed after lying dormant for years. The High Bridge lies at the center of a major revitalization of the Harlem River Valley–for both the Bronx and Manhattan. Before very long, the High Bridge will become linked to the new parks being built on both sides of the river. Seated at the center of all of these recreational attractions, the High Bridge will benefit from increased numbers of visitors and encourage residents from nearby and far away to explore the new, revived river's edge.

The High Bridge Coalition supports the efforts of the many groups and individuals working to redevelop the Harlem River waterfront for public use.

Works in Progress

Regatta Park Greenway. Regatta Park Greenway is the name given by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to the stretch of Bronx waterfront extending from Macombs Dam Park, at about East 161st Street to West 225th Street, close to where the Harlem River empties out into the Hudson River. In the next three years, Parks & Recreation will reconstruct and reopen several miles of waterfront.

Regatta Park Greenway, Phase 1. This project will open about 1 1/2 miles of waterfront pathways, starting at Depot Place just below the High Bridge and connecting to Roberto Clemente State Park. It will be reachable from Highbridge Park by the 170th Street step-street. The project will create a new destination with lawns, benches, and a smooth waterfront path edged by the lapping waves of the Harlem River. Construction of this project is scheduled to begin soon.

Where to Go

Harlem River Speedway. With assistance from the New York State Department of Transportation, Mayor Bloomberg reopened the Speedway for pedestrians and bicyclists in Summer 2003. The esplanade is part of the 32-mile Manhattan Waterfront Greenway that rings the borough.

Visit the Speedway from entrances at Dyckman Street and 10th Avenue, or from 155th Street and Edgecombe Avenue.

Swindler Cove at Sherman Creek Park. Boat building classes for youth at the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse, along with various youth and adult programs and beautiful water’s edge gardens. Operated by the New York Restoration Project, Swindler Cove is part of the New York City Water Trail. Located at Dyckman Street just off of 10th Avenue.

Roberto Clemente State Park. A full recreation center with pool, indoor ball courts and outdoor ballfields, picnic areas and boat launches. Visit their webpage for more information and directions.