Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bridge of the Week #17: Eastchester Bridge

This week's (again, actually last week's - I'll get caught up) bridge is the Eastchester Bridge. This bridge, in the Eastchester neighborhood in northeast The Bronx (The northeast Bronx?) carries Boston Road northeast over the Hutchinson River just before it crosses the city/county line into Pelham Manor of Westchester County.

Unfortunately, none of my regular sources for bridge length, clearance above the water, construction date and other specs, deign to mention this bridge. It's certainly not the most interesting or attractive of bridges, but it is of fairly good length and height. I'll just give the best description I can, and augment that with pictures I took. It is not a drawbridge, it is fixed, and appears to have been built in the 50's or 60's. I actually like it in the sense that it reminds me of some of the viaducts in Nebraska. Of the bridges thus far reviewed in this blog, it is probably most similar to the Pulaski Bridge (2,810 feet long, 39 feet clearance above the water), but probably shorter and maybe a little higher. It feels a little steeper running it. It carries two lanes of traffic in each direction and has sidewalks on both sides. On the northeast end it can be accessed at Boston Road and Ropes Ave., although the downriver sidwalk can be accessed at McOwen Ave., and its southwest end is at Boston Road and Conner St. as it becomes Provost Ave., but again the downriver sidewalk doesn't actually start until Peartree Ave. (another one of my favorite street names).

This bridge is probably seldom used by runners, although I did see it used by a fair number of pedestrians who probably live in the area. As I said, the city/county line is just a few blocks north on Boston Road (which becomes Boston Post Road upon crossing the line). Certainly Pelham Manor has many beautiful homes. Co-op City is not far to the south on the west bank of the Hutchinson River, and on the east bank is Pelham Bay Park, which continues on the west bank further south. Most of the area under and directly near the bridge (in the Bronx) seems to be taken up by junk and scrap yards. The nearest subway station is the Dyre Ave. station, the 5 train terminal at Dyre Ave. and 233rd St. a few blocks to the west of the bridge.

However, Boston Road, or Boston Post Road, was an early highway which was used to carry mail between New York and Boston as far back as the 1670's, and followed old Indian paths, making it one of our first highways. The current Boston Road was actually rerouted a bit in the Bronx in 1792 because wealthy landowner Lewis Morris wanted it to run through his property. The road now, as it crosses the bridge, holds the designation of U.S. Highway 1.
The Hutchinson River was named after Anne Hutchinson, the first settler in the area, who arrived in the 1640's. Eastchester is a fairly generic name coined no doubt by the early English settlers, and contrasts with Westchester, as in Westchester County. Apparently the neighborhood residents don't often refer to the area as Eastchester, possibly to avoid confusion with the town of Eastchester a few miles north in Westchester County. Which came first, I don't know, but the neighborhood used to belong to Westchester County and didn't become part of New York City until 1895. So don't ask me.

Pics: 1. Entrance on the southwest end; 2. Entrance on the northeast end; 3. View to the southeast (downriver), ahh... how nice, until you see...; 4. View to the northwest (upriver)

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