Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bridge of the Week #69: Town Bridge

This week's bridge is one of the little gems that is often overlooked, that has the distinction of being not only the oldest existing bridge in the city (I believe, but most certainly in my survey), but is also the shortest: the Town Bridge.

This is a small stone arch bridge built in 1845 (as you can tell from the sign in the picture above), and it carries Arthur Kill Road over the Richmond Creek in the area of Historic Richmond Town on Staten Island, just north of the intersection of Arthur Kill Road and Richmond Road before Arthur Kill Road becomes Richmond Hill Road. (Yes, keeping all the "Richmond" places straight on Staten Island, aka Richmond County, is no small task.) Just from observation, the bridge looks to be about 10 feet long. But it is wide enough to carry a two-lane road, although with no sidewalks. Many of the streets in this area have no sidewalks, shoulders or room for runners or pedestrians other than on the far edge of the traffic lane.

Historic Richmond Town is one of Staten Island's most significant historic and tourist sites. It includes buildings that date back to the 17th century, and it has many special events. Just on the north side of the creek is St. Andrew's Church with a churchyard/graveyard that looks like it's straight out of a haunted house movie (no offense to those resting there). The streets here are not runner-friendly, as is the case on most of the island, unfortunately, but in this area, near St. Andrew's Church, you can connect to the miles of trails in the Staten Island Greenbelt. These trails can take you to near the Staten Island Mall, to Willowbrook Park, or even all the way to Clove Lake Park. I admit that I haven't explored these trails much at all, but they are another one of Staten Island's great resources, I believe.

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