May 06, 2010

Photo Essay: Walkway Over the Hudson

It was a dream of historic preservation and adaptive reuse that seemed like it would never come true.

And then the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge, severely damaged in a fire in the 1970s and completely out of commission in the 1980s, reopened as Walkway Over the Hudson, the world's longest pedestrian bridge.

The new bridge, opened last year, is new and beautiful. There's just not much there.

facing west towards Highland

approaching Hudson River crossing, facing northwest

facing east towards Poughkeepsie

That is, until you really look.

We'd walked across one way and then back before we discovered the vestiges of the old railroad system on the Poughkeepsie side, surrounded by No Trespassing signs, enshrouded in the bright green overgrowth that flanks either side of the land approach to the bridge.

signal tower


We visited the Walkway on a remarkably uncrowded day. Maybe because it was a Tuesday. Maybe because of the dark clouds looming in the distance. Maybe because there's nothing actually on the walkway, and nothing really to get to on the other side in Highland.

Would it have been worth it to take a three-hour round trip train ride up and back from New York City just to cross the Walkway off my bucket list? Probably not, though I would have regretted not seeing it at all. But since we were already nearby, fear of heights, water, and thunderstorms be damned, we had to go see it. And it was lovely.

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