Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bridge of the Week #3: City Island Bridge

This week's bridge (sorry it's a litlte late) is the City Island Bridge, which connects City Island, part of the Bronx that sits in Long Island Sound, to the mainland of the Bronx at Rodman's neck*. The bridge is 950 feet long, and includes one section that was a swing bridge until fixed in 1963. It was built from 1899-1901, replacing a wooden bridge previously on the site.

For runners, it has sidewalks on both sides that connect to City Island Avenue on the island and well-maintained bike/pedestrian paths on both sides of City Island Road on the mainland. It carries three traffic lanes - one in each direction and one emergency lane. It is a pleasant run to continue the approximate mile and a half on quiet city streets to the southern end of City Island, and the City Island Road pathway connects to the Pelham Parkway, which has a nice running/biking path, and Pelham Park, as well as to Shore Road, which leads to Pelham Manor in Westchester County. Also near to the bridge on the mainland is Orchard Beach, a large public beach meant to be the Bronx's answer to Coney Island (minus the roller coasters and sideshows). City Island is a community of about 4500 people, and it is unique in New York City as it has the feel of a small New England fishing village, or at least a Long Island fishing village. There are many seafood restaurants, if you care to take a meal break during or after your run.

Although it is a low-rising bridge, with only 8 feet of clearance above the water, it does give a nice view. Easliy visible across the water, if somewhat distant, are the Throg's Neck Bridge and Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, and even the Empire State Building and other skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan.

Plans have been underway since 2003 to replace the bridge with a cable-stayed bridge. Original estimates were for a cost of $33 million and a completion of 2010. The cost estimate as of 2009 is $120 million with work scheduled to start in 2011. Gee, something in New York costing 4 times as much to build as originally thought and five years behind schedule? Get the smelling salts. (I'm sure mob contracting, if it exists, has nothing to do with it).

The nearest subway station is the end of the 6 train a couple miles away in Pelham Park. The bridge is crossed by the Bx29 bus to Co-Op City.
The bridge was named after the island, which went by many names since its founding in 1619, but approaching 1800, as part of Westchester County, it was developed commercially with the intention of rivaling the city of New York, so the name New City Island stuck, and by the time its residents voted to detach from Westchester and join New York City, it was simply known as City Island.
*I was looking for a picture of Dennis Rodman, particularly one that showed his neck well, but I couldn't find a pic of him I wanted on my blog.

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