Maps and Notes    2011

Uptown Heights
Highbridge and the Ship Canal
Monuments of Audubon Terrace
The Trans Manhattan
The Bronx at Harlem River


Highbridge and the Ship Canal


Fort Tryon View I
Manhattan, November 27, 2001

Fort Tryon View II
Manhattan and Bronx, November 27, 2001

From the cliffs below Margaret Corbin Drive inside Fort Tryon Park, in Inwood:

Looking southeast I, at the Washington Heights intersection of Nagle and Hillside Avenues with Broadway, and east II, at lower Inwood with University Heights, Bronx in the distance. Margaret Cochran Corbin was the first woman soldier to fight in the American Revolution near these sites against the Royalist Forces who took the fort and named it after the last British Governor of New York, Sir William Tryon.


Highbridge View I (left)
Manhattan and Bronx, June 21, 2004

Highbridge View II (right)
Manhattan and Bronx, November 27, 2001

Highbridge View III
Bronx and Manhattan, November 13, 2001

From inside Highbridge Park, Manhattan and the Bridge Playground Park in Highbridge, Bronx:

Looking south I, from the trail below Laurel Hill Terrace at Harlem River and Washington Bridge (1889). Looking northeast II, from the terrace at Highbridge Water Tower, again at Harlem River and Washington Bridge (1889) with the Alexander Hamilton Bridge (1963) just behind. Looking north III, across the top of Washington Bridge (1889) back to Laurel Hill Terrace with Belfer Hall Science Center of Yeshiva University (1968) at center.


Highbridge Composite, Water Tower I
Bronx and Manhattan, November 12, 2001

Highbridge Park, Water Tower II
Manhattan, August 8, 2004

From each of the two Highbridge Parks on opposite sides of the Harlem River:

Left side of I, looking northwest from the Bronx directly across the top of High Bridge (1838-48) to Highbridge Water Tower (1866-72) on the Manhattan side. In the background is Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and the Julius and Armand Hammer Health Sciences Center (1976) just left of the Water Tower. Right side of I, looking northwest at the Harlem River Drive and arched entrance ramp (1962) in foreground, with the George Washington Bridge (1931 & 1962) center, and the Bridge Apartments (1964) on the right. Looking south II, the Highbridge Water Tower in Highbridge Park, Washington Heights.


High Bridge Arches (left)
Manhattan and Bronx, October 29, 2001

From Harlem River Drive along the edge of Highbridge Park, in line with West 175th Street in Washington Heights:

Looking southeast at the old aqueduct structure where five of the original masonry arches were replaced by a single steel span from 1923-28 to allow for larger boat traffic on the river below.

135th Street Gatehouse (right)
Manhattan, May 20, 2002

From the corner of Convent Avenue and West 135th Street at City College in Hamilton Heights:

Looking northeast at the Gatehouse (1884-90), one of three Manhattan pump stations for the New Croton Aqueduct that replaced the old system by diverting Croton’s water to the Jerome Park Reservoir in the Bronx for delivery to lower Manhattan. In 2005, the Gatehouse interior was converted to a rehearsal and performance studio for nearby Aaron Davis Hall.


Highbridge Park, Water Tower III
Manhattan, November 8, 2001

In Highbridge Park on Amsterdam Avenue at West 172nd Street in Washington Heights:

Looking east at the Water Tower (1866-72), which was restored after a fire in 1989. The iron fence surrounds Highbridge Park Swimming Pool (1936), which occupies the original site of the Highbridge Reservoir.

High Bridge (1838-48) delivered Manhattan’s water from upstate via the Old Croton Aqueduct system. After crossing the aqueduct bridge the water was pumped up at different stages into Highbridge Reservoir (1863) and the pressurized Water Tower (1866-72), which served the higher elevation neighborhoods nearby. The New Croton Aqueduct (1906) was built to further expand New York’s water delivery systems.

Today the Harlem River is inaccessible in Manhattan along the edge of Highbridge Park due to the Harlem River Drive (1962). The drive completely obstructs the adjacency except for the fenced in river walk that has just two entrances separated by forty-five city blocks. In the latter part of the 20th century, Highbridge Park was mostly abandoned and left in a derelict state with overgrown weeds, vines and discarded debris. In recent years the New York Restoration Project has done a lot to clean up and restore the natural habitat of the park. Imagine the 19th century experience of Highbridge when there was a marina and an amusement park along the riverbank with High Bridge and Washington Bridge standing overhead. The terraced carriage roads that descended the rock and timber bluffs, crossing footpaths lined with granite steps, iron railings and gas light lamps, came to their destinations by the edge of the river undisturbed.


Swindler Cove I
Manhattan and Bronx, July 1, 2004

Swindler Cove II
Manhattan and Bronx, July 1, 2004

At the edge of Highbridge Park near the intersection of Harlem River Drive and Dyckman Street with 10th Avenue in Inwood:

Looking south I, at the refurbished landscape of the New York Restoration Project with the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse (2004) at center and River Park Towers (1975) of Morris Heights in the background. Looking northeast II, at Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse with the Sherman Creek Marina on the left and University Heights Bridge (1908, rebuilt 1990) at distant right.


Harlem River Ship Canal I
Bronx and Manhattan, July 3, 2004

Harlem River Ship Canal, Panorama
Bronx and Manhattan, July 11, 2004-

Harlem River Ship Canal II
Bronx and Manhattan, January 24, 2005

From University Woods near Cedar Avenue at Bronx Community College and then Bailey Avenue between Heath and Sedgwick Avenues, both in University Heights, Bronx:

Looking north I, University Heights Bridge (1908, rebuilt 1990) with Department of Sanitation smoke stacks at center and Broadway Bridge (1962) at right. Looking north Panorama, over Harlem River, Inwood, the Ship Canal, Marble Hill and Riverdale with Henry Hudson Bridge (1936) at far left and Broadway Bridge (1962) on the right. Looking north II, at Broadway Bridge over the Ship Canal in winter.

The University Heights Bridge (1908, rebuilt 1990) was originally constructed at the Marble Hill crossing where the Broadway Bridge (1962) stands today. After completion it was carried by barge down the Harlem River to its present location where it connects West 207th Street with West Fordham Road. The narrow waterway at Marble Hill made it a good site for building short span bridges, but it was entirely restrictive for boat passage. In 1895, the Ship Canal project got underway to widen the channel from Spuyten Duyvil to Marble Hill to allow boat access in either direction between the Hudson and Harlem Rivers. Due to the cliffs on the Bronx side, the widening occurred mostly along the Manhattan shore by blasting the bedrock to reroute the expanded canal to meet the Harlem River. This left an 'island of marble’ from the Manhattan side standing in the middle of the canal for several years until it was filled in on its northern side and attached to Bronx soil. Even though the landfill and Marble Hill proper have been part of the Bronx for approximately one hundred years, they are still bound by Manhattan and New York County by jurisdiction.


Monuments of Audubon Terrace


Trinity Cemetery I
Manhattan, December 4, 2001

Trinity Cemetery II
Manhattan, December 4, 2001

From the corner of West 153rd Street and Riverside Drive in Hamilton Heights:

Looking north I, at the iron fence work that surrounds the cemetery (original 1876, restored 1989) with the George Washington Bridge (1931 & 1962) in the background. Looking east II, at the iron fence in front of the mausoleum (1980s) and the terraced grounds of the cemetery in the background.


North Presbyterian Church (left)
Manhattan, December 19, 2001

Greater File Chapel Baptist Church (right)
Manhattan, December 19, 2001

From West 155th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway in Washington Heights:

Left, looking north at the square shaped tower of North Presbyterian Church (1904) and North Church Memorial (1923) on street level, with a subway vent in the foreground. The church was originally founded in 1847 on 9th Avenue at West 32nd Street. It was forced to relocate uptown in 1903 when 500 buildings in its former neighborhood where demolished to make room for the construction of Penn Station. Right, looking east at the Greater File Chapel (1914), originally the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church, rededicated in 1974 by the Baptist congregation that was founded in 1953. In the background is the Audubon Apartments (1962).


Trinity Cemetery III
Manhattan, January 3, 2002

Trinity Cemetery IV
Manhattan, December 7, 2001

From inside the grounds of Trinity Cemetery in Hamilton Heights:

Looking east III, at Church of the Intercession (1910-14) center, North Presbyterian Church (1904) left, and Audubon Apartments (1962) far left. Looking north IV, at the Tombstone of George Hunter (1861-1862) center, the infant son of William Henry Hunter and Victoria Romaine, with the George Washington Bridge (1931 & 1962) in the background.

The uptown Trinity Cemetery is an extension of the older burial grounds of Trinity Church on lower Broadway, west of Wall Street. The hilly site on the border of Hamilton and Washington Heights was purchased by the Trinity Church Corporation from John James Audubon in 1841. Audubon, the artist and naturalist, owned the property known as Audubon Park, where he and his wife had an estate and a game preserve they called Minnie’s Land, taken from the name their children adopted for their mother when they lived in Scotland a decade earlier. After his death, Audubon was buried in the new Trinity Cemetery and the family eventually sold sections of the park to the philanthropist and renowned Hispanic scholar Archer Milton Huntington. With wealth acquired from the estate of his stepfather Collis Potter Huntington, the famous railroad magnate, Archer Huntington built the visionary Beaux-Arts complex just north of the cemetery on a level plot and renamed it Audubon Terrace, in dedication to its previous owner.


Hispanic Society of North America I, Façade Composite
Manhattan, December 10, 2001

From inside Trinity Cemetery along West 153rd street in Hamilton Heights:

Looking northeast at the limestone bas-reliefs by Berthold Nebel (1939) on the south side of the Hispanic Society (1904-08) showing six of the nine sculpted panels, each depicting a conqueror who flourished in Spanish history – Seneca, Traian, Averoes, Almanzor, The Cid, and Charles V, plus Magellan, San Martin, and Calderon who are not shown.


American Academy of Arts and Letters, Bronze Doors I
Manhattan, February 14, 2002

American Academy of Arts and Letters, Bronze Doors II
Manhattan, February 14, 2002

From the west courtyard of the Audubon Terrace Plaza between West 155th and 156th Streets at Broadway in Washington Heights:

Looking north I, and then northeast II (detail), at the bronze door entrance of the second Academy building (1930). The bronze doors, representing Inspiration on the left and Sculpture on the right, were commissioned from Herbert Adams in collaboration with Cass Gilbert who designed the building.


Hispanic Society of North America II, Courtyard
Manhattan, February 6, 2002

From the central courtyard of the Audubon Terrace Plaza between West 155th and 156th Streets at Broadway in Washington Heights:

Looking northeast at the limestone bas-relief of Boabdil (1944) by Anna Hyatt Huntington with the poetic inscription below by her husband Archer Milton Huntington. The relief depicts the exiled king's farewell look upon Granada with tears in his eyes.

He wore the cloak of grandeur. It was bright
with stolen promises and colours thin.
But now and then the wind – the wind of night –
raised it and showed the broken thing within.


Hispanic Society of North America III, Sculpture Garden Composite
Manhattan, January 25, - February 6, 2002

From inside the sculpture garden of the Audubon Terrace Plaza between West 155th and 156th Streets at Broadway in Washington Heights:

Four views of Bronze statues depicting El Cid (equestrian), the Spanish Order of Chivalry (seated), and the Red Doe and Fawn by Anna Hyatt Huntington. The statue of El Cid was originally made for Seville (1927) and the replica surrounded by four seated figures was brought to the Hispanic Society in the following years (1928-34).


Hispanic Society of North America IV, Courtyard
Manhattan, January 29, 2002

From the east courtyard of the Audubon Terrace Plaza between West 155th and 156th Streets at Broadway in Washington Heights:

Looking northeast at the limestone bas-relief of Don Quijote (1942) by Anna Hyatt Huntington with the poetic inscription below by her husband Archer Milton Huntington. The relief depicts the final melancholic state of the self-imagined knight with his broken staff and faithful horse.

Shall deeds of Caesar or Napoleon ring
more true than Don Quijote’s vapouring?
Hath winged Pegasus more nobly trod
than Rocinante stumbling up to God?

The original buildings of the Audubon Terrace included the Hispanic Society of North America (1907), the American Numismatic Society (1908), the American Geographical Society (1911), the Church of our Lady of Esperanza (1912), the American Indian Museum (1916) and the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1923 & 1930). The artistic collaboration of family members unified a cultural sense of place – Archer Huntington as poet, Anna Huntington as sculptor and Charles Pratt Huntington as architect, among others who were commissioned including Cass Gilbert and Stanford White. In recent years three of the institutions have relocated downtown. The American Geographical Society is now on Wall Street. As renamed, the National Museum of the American Indian is now in the George Gustav Heye Center of the Alexander Hamilton Customs Building at Bowling Green. The American Numismatic Society has moved to Varick Street near the Holland Tunnel. In turn, just two of the vacated buildings are now reoccupied, both by Boricua College. Rumor has it that the Hispanic Society is planning to move as well, due to the lack of visitors who otherwise perceive the neighborhood as remote and dangerous.


The Trans Manhattan


Riverside Park, George Washington Bridge I
Manhattan and Bergen County, November 16, 2001

From Riverside Drive at West 165th Street in Washington Heights:

Looking northwest over Riverside Park and Fort Washington Park to the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge (1931 & 1962) center. The palisades of Fort Lee, New Jersey is on the left.


J. Hood Wright Park, George Washington Bridge II
Manhattan, November 14, 2001

J. Hood Wright Park, George Washington Bridge III
Manhattan and Bergen County, October 16, 2001

Inside J. Hood Wright Park, located between West 173rd and 176th Streets, from Fort Washington to Haven Avenues in Washington Heights:

Looking northwest II, over the open-air terrace to the east tower of the George Washington Bridge (1931 & 1962). In the center of the terrace is a metal column titled, 3000 A.D. Diffusion Piece, by sculptor Terry Fugate Wilcox (1974). Made of bolted plates of magnesium and aluminum, the column's material components are intended to diffuse over time indefinitely, but certainly by the next millennium as the title infers. Further into the scene at the edge of the terrace lookout III, the east tower rises above the trees of Fort Washington Park showing its twin arches and double-decker design with the Jersey palisades reemerging in the background.

In some ways similar to the real estate development of the Audubon Terrace that connected John J. Audubon’s land holdings to the visionary achievements of Archer M. Huntington; the banker and philanthropist J. Hood Wright donated his property and home site to the city for another park by the Hudson. Built in 1925 with circular walkways and spacious river views, his plan also called for the construction of a senior citizens center on the park grounds. The senior center was later turned into a general recreational facility for the neighborhood. Wright’s prior contributions to the city were his large anonymous gifts to the Washington Heights Branch of the New York Public Library and the establishment of a hospital in Manhattanville.

1925 was also the year that Swiss American Othmar H. Ammann was appointed the Chief Engineer for the Port of Authority of New York and was commissioned to build the Hudson River Bridge, which later became the George Washington Bridge. His brilliant design for the span, which opened in 1931, included add-on suspension capacities for two additional lanes that were constructed in 1946 and a second lower level that was built in 1962. The original design had called for encasements of concrete and granite to conceal the steel towers until the architect Cass Gilbert, noted skyscraper pioneer (who also contributed to the Audubon Terrace) was hired to create a modern cladding for the exposed steel frames. The geometric pattern of Xs within squares that Gilbert designed gave visual expression to the idea that the towers were built like skyscrapers.


George Washington Bridge Bus Station I (left)
Manhattan, October 11, 2001

From the corner of Broadway and West 179th Street in Washington Heights.

George Washington Bridge Bus Station II (right)
Manhattan, October 10, 2001

From the corner of Pinehurst Avenue and West 178th Street in Washington Heights:

Looking west I, and then east II, at opposite sides of the George Washington Bridge Bus Station (1963). The bus station could not be built until after the lower level of the George Washington Bridge was in place (1962). This allowed eastbound buses headed for the terminal to dominate the upper level and enter directly into the station; while thru traffic for the Bronx and beyond could continue from the new lower level right under the station via the Trans Manhattan Expressway, which was under construction at the same time (1962-64).

The Italian engineer and architect, Pier Luigi Nervi, was commissioned to design the bus station after his international success with the Olympic Stadium in Rome (1960). The pattern of Xs on the sides of the bus station resembled Gilbert's cladding on Ammann's bridge towers, but in every other way the building exemplified the spirit of another new technology. Nervi was instrumental in developing the construction techniques of reinforced concrete, which he used in the symmetrical design of the slanting roof partitions. Further design treatments for airflow and natural lighting above the bus platforms were accomplished with triangular cuts in the roof partitions for alternating windows and vents.


Fort George Hill
Manhattan, November 1, 2001

From the intersection of Fort George and Audubon Avenues with Fort George Hill at West 193rd Street in Washington Heights:

Looking east at Flat Fixed Tires and Auto Sound with 133 Fort George Avenue in the background.


Bienvenido, Bridge Apartments I
Manhattan, October 11, 2001

From West 176th Street between Wadsworth Avenue and Broadway in Washington Heights.

Pronto Envio, Bridge Apartments II
Manhattan, October 10, 2001

From the corner of Saint Nicholas Avenue and West 176th Street in Washington Heights.-

Highbridge Park, Bridge Apartments, Panorama
Manhattan, October 15, 2001

Inside Highbridge Park near Amsterdam Avenue between West 174th and 175th Streets in Washington Heights.

Highbridge Park, Bridge Apartments III
Manhattan, June 17, 2002

Inside Highbridge Park near Amsterdam Avenue at West 176th Street in Washington Heights.

Highbridge Park, Bridge Apartments IV
Manhattan, June 18, 2002

Inside Highbridge Park near Amsterdam Avenue at West 178th Street in Washington Heights.-

Trans Manhattan Expressway, Bridge Apartments V
Manhattan, July 23, 2002

From Amsterdam Avenue between West 178th and 179th Streets in Washington Heights.

Alternating views north and northeast, I, II, III, IV, V of the Bridge Apartments (1964) in parts, and all four towers together, Panorama:

Before 1962, traffic crossing Manhattan in either direction between the George Washington Bridge (1931 & 1962) and the older Washington Bridge (1889) got diverted through two tunnels under West 178th and 179th Streets. Robert Moses changed all that in just three years. From 1962-64 the Moses plan connected the lower level of the George Washington Bridge directly to the Trans Manhattan Expressway, which ran right under the Bus Station and the Bridge Apartment towers to connect with the new Alexander Hamilton Bridge (1963) and the Cross Bronx Expressway. The four enclosed lanes of the original tunnels were replaced by the twelve-lane open cut expressway running across Washington Heights.

The Trans Manhattan Expressway and Bridge Apartments project was one of the earliest ’air-rights developments’ over a highway in the United States. Had it remained a tunnel, with designs similar to any of the river tunnels downtown, the environmental impact from exhaust fumes would have been controllable with ventilating towers, albeit huge ones, perhaps two-three times larger than any of the downtown designs. The cost for a closed tunnel system with twelve lanes was prohibitive, especially since the expressway was not going under water. The simpler, yet naïve option of leaving it to nature was chosen instead. The Port Authority’s solution to the pollution problem was to let the expressway remain open between the apartment towers so the exhaust fumes could escape into the air. The architect for the Bridge Apartments, Bernard Guenther, who preferred closed off platforms between the buildings that could also be used to support parks and parking lots, responded by designing the towers with aluminum siding to resist soot buildup from exhaust. He also proposed the use of high-tech ventilating systems with central air-conditioning for the apartment interiors. Cost overruns prevented this from ever being fully realized. AC window units are abundantly visible in the towers today and the residents are not able to use their exposed balconies due to the toxic levels of carbon monoxide in the air.

The Bridge Apartments house approximately 4,000 people in the 960 units divided among the four towers. The construction of the Trans Manhattan Expressway displaced twice as many people in 1962 when 76 buildings were demolished to build the entire complex. After the Trans Manhattan, Robert Moses was successfully blocked from developing his other open cut or elevated cross Manhattan projects. Included among them was a Lower Manhattan Expressway connecting the Holland Tunnel to the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, a Mid-Manhattan elevated from the Lincoln Tunnel to the Queens Midtown tunnel, and an Upper Manhattan Expressway across 125th Street connecting the Triborough Bridge to yet another Hudson River crossing.


The Bronx at Harlem River


Franz Sigel Park, Grand Concourse I
Bronx, July 10, 2002

Inside Franz Sigel Park along Grand Concourse Boulevard between East 153rd and 157th Streets in Melrose:

Looking east I, at 708 Grand Concourse Boulevard, a multi-use commercial building for M&K Live Poultry, Furniture Factory Outlet and The Blood of Jesus Pentecostal Ministry International Church. The tall smoke stack serves the crematory at the poultry shop.


Kingsbridge Armory
Bronx, May 30, 2002

From the corner of Jerome Avenue and East 193rd Street in Kingsbridge Heights:

Looking west, beneath the elevated tracks of the #4 train at the Kingsbridge Armory (1912-17) in the background. Originally known as the Eighth Coastal Artillery and later as the Eighth Regiment, the massive armory is the biggest of its kind in the world with 408,000 square feet of interior space. The open drill hall occupies nearly half the entire building. Looking for ways to serve their communities during decades of peacetime, many of New York's smaller armories have adapted as homeless shelters and indoor track & field arenas. In recent years, the huge vacancy of the Kingsbridge Armory has attracted developers with grand ideas for its commercial transformation. Proposals worth up to $310 million for a retail mall, cineplex and new school facilities have all failed to win support in light of other disputes over employee wages and benefit plans plus the logistics of dealing with increased traffic and parking. After the community rejected a plan that did not include a provision for new school space, the city at least agreed to renovate the structure with an investment of $31 million. In 2000, a new roof was installed.


Fordham Plaza
Bronx, July 15, 2002

From Webster Avenue between East 188th and 189th Streets in Fordham:

Looking east at One Fordham Plaza (1986) top left, with the smaller dome of Theodore Roosevelt High School (1918) far right, and Carvel Ice Cream in the foreground. The High School was officially closed in 2006 after experiencing the lowest graduation rate in the city at negative 3%. Fordham University is located directly across the street behind the plaza high-rise.


Gould Memorial Library, Hall of Fame for Great Americans
Bronx, July 15, 2004

Inside Bronx Community College campus in University Heights:

Looking northeast at Gould Memorial Library (1894-99) top, and The Hall of Fame for Great Americans (1892-1912) below. Considered one of Stanford White's greatest architectural achievements, the library dome is referred to as White's inspiration from the Pantheon. Beneath the dome inside the library is a rotunda lined with sixteen Corinthian columns made of Connemara marble from Ireland. No cost was spared to import the rare green stone even though an ample supply of local marble was available from nearby Marble Hill, which was being blasted to widen the Harlem River Ship Canal at the same time. (see: Uptown Heights, Highbridge and the Ship Canal, Harlem River Ship Canal II)

The Gould Library was completed in five years, whereas the colonnade for The Hall of Fame took twenty years and was not officially done until the bronze busts of famous Americans were installed in the 1930s. The busts in the foreground are those of American authors. All the way to the right and facing out is 19th century poet James Russell Lowell (1819-1891), by sculptor Allan Clark (1930).

Built high and overlooking the Harlem River, the Gould Library is the architectural centerpiece of Bronx Community College, which bought the campus from New York University in 1973.


Joyce Kilmer Park, Grand Concourse II (left)
Bronx, July 7, 1998

Inside Joyce Kilmer Park along Grand Concourse Boulevard at East 164th Street in Melrose.

Franz Sigel Park, Grand Concourse III (right)
Bronx, July 2, 1998

Inside Franz Sigel Park along Grand Concourse Boulevard at East 158th Street in Melrose:

Looking east II, at Lorelei Fountain (1899) by sculptor Ernst Herter, dedicated to the German poet Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), whose profile is carved in relief on the base of the statue. Heine wrote "Ode to Die Lorelei" (to the murmuring rock) as lyrics to an old German folksong about the treacherous bend in the Rhine River at Lorelei Rock. As myth, the poem is also the unrequited love song of the mermaid from the mighty rock that enticed sailors and fishermen seeking her beautiful voice, to plunge to their deaths as they collided with the rocky shore.

The fountain was originally intended for the poet’s hometown of Dusseldorf, but objections to Heine’s Jewish roots blocked its construction there. Donors to the United States were similarly rejected when they asked to have the fountain placed at Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. The fountain was finally accepted by the Bronx in 1899 and later installed in Joyce Kilmer Park near Yankee Stadium in 1936. After years of neglect and deterioration the fountain was restored in 1999 for $1.87 million and moved to the south end of the park near the Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Plazas. In 2004, an additional $1.78 million was spent to rebuild the adjacent playground, where the metal plaque dedicated to Joyce Kilmer’s 1913 poem "Trees" is imbedded in the walkway underfoot:

I think I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Looking north III, at the south side (detail) of the Bronx County Building (1931-35) through the open trees. The man sitting on the fence is Sal Gonzalez, a Bronx resident and worker.


Bronx Borough Court House
Bronx, July 1, 1998

From the intersection of Third and Brook Avenues with East 160th Street in Morrisania:

Looking northwest at the old Bronx Borough Court House (1905-15) with a statue of Lady Justice mounted over the entrance. The rightful architect Oscar Bluemner, was eclipsed by his employer Michael J. Gavin, who used Bluemner's Beaux-Arts design proposal to win the city's $40,000 courthouse commission for himself and took sole credit for it. Gavin's plagiarism of Bluemner's plans damaged the troubled architect's career and caused Bluemner to have a change of heart about being an architect. After the courthouse debacle, Bluemner decided to make paintings of buildings rather than design them.

The inexperienced Gavin underestimated his budgets and timetables, which prolonged the construction of the courthouse for a decade. Nicknamed the "Grey Lady"; the courthouse gradually became obsolete after the opening of the newer and larger Bronx County Building in 1935. Ironically, the old courthouse was vacated in 1978 at the beginning of Mayor Koch's tenure, only to be turned around with landmark status in 1981, which protected it from demolition. Nothing happened with the structure until Mayor Giuliani auctioned it off for $300,000 to speculators who have sat on it since 1998. Like the Kingsbridge Armory, proposals have circulated to transform it into retail space and a charter school, but in 2007 it was put back on the market for $25 million. Now in 2011, the courthouse is genuinely exposed to new prospects as the $300 million college campus expansion of Boricua Village soars all around it, expecting to change the socio-economic profile of the neighborhood.


Maher Circle, Harlem River Cross View I
Manhattan and Bronx, July 5, 2004

From the Maher Circle intersection of Saint Nicholas and Edgecombe Avenues with West 155th Street in Hamilton Heights:

Looking east I, at the Polo Ground Towers (1966) with the lantern and column of Hooper Fountain (1894, restored 1992) on the right. The Towers were built following the demolition of the last Polo Ground Stadium in 1964, and the fountain was gifted to the city by John Hooper, a 19th century civil engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, to provide water and a resting spot for horses. The ramp to Macomb’s Dam Bridge (1895) on Manhattan’s side is in the foreground. The roof top lighthouse of The H.W. Wilson Building (1929) is in the Bronx, in the distance on the right.


H.W. Wilson Co. Lighthouse (left)
Bronx, July 16, 2002

From the corner of Summit Avenue and West 162nd Street in Highbridge:

Looking northwest at The H.W. Wilson Building (1929), publisher of indexes and references since 1898. The lighthouse on the roof is 30 feet tall, made of copper and mounted on a large replica of a book. The east tower of the George Washington Bridge (1931 & 1962) is in the distant background.

Macomb's Dam Park, Bronx County Courthouse (right)
Bronx, July 16, 2002

Inside Macomb's Dam Park, Jerome to River Avenues between West 161st and 162nd Streets in Highbridge:

Looking south at the elevated 161st Street Station at Yankee Stadium (1917) with the bleachers of the Joseph J. Yancey Jr. Track & Field (after 1936) below, and the Bronx County Building (1931-35) behind. Yancey was the co-founder of the New York Pioneer Track and Field Club, the first interracial track team in the United States to train Olympic athletes. The camera position inside the Track & Field corresponds to where second base is in the new Yankee Stadium (2009).


Highbridge Park, Harlem River Cross View II
Manhattan and Bronx, July 8, 2004

From inside Highbridge Park near Edgecombe Avenue at West 163rd Street in Washington Heights:

Looking southeast II, at the Bronx skyline with Melrose receding to the right. The H.W. Wilson Building and Lighthouse (1929) is at center with the Major Deegan Expressway (1956), the new Highbridge Rail Yard (rebuilt 2003) and the Harlem River, all below. The Bronx County Building (1931-35) is in the background to the right with the east plaza high-rise of Concourse Village Apartments (1963-64) at far right.


Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center
Bronx, July 8, 2002

From the Metro-North overpass on East 144th Street between Park Avenue and Grand Concourse Boulevard in Mott Haven:

Looking east at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center (1976) with mixed-use buildings on either side, Chairmasters Manufacturing (left) and the Deeper Life Bible Church in residence (right). The Medical Center was originally founded in Manhattan in 1839 as a hospital for indigent African Americans. Shortly after the Civil War it was named The Colored Home and Hospital, but in 1889 it moved to the Bronx as a general care facility open to all people and took the new name of Lincoln Hospital. The current facility is well known for its excellence as an acute care and trauma center with one of the busiest emergency rooms in New York.


Louis Hirsh & Sons Funeral Directors
Bronx, March 14, 2007

From the intersection of Edgar L. Grant Highway with Jerome and Cromwell Avenues at East 167th Street in Highbridge.

Looking northwest at Louis Hirsh & Sons, a Jewish funeral home, with Shakespeare Avenue apartments behind it.


Elizabeth Barrett Browning Middle School
Bronx, May 23, 2002

From an open lot between Walton and Morris Avenues from East 183rd to 184th Streets in Fordham:

Looking east at Elizabeth Barrett Browning IS 115 (1914). Elizabeth Barrett, the 19th century Victorian poet is best known for her Love Sonnet XLIII, "How Do I Love Thee," written to poet John Browning before they married in 1846. When the intimate poems were published in 1850 as "Sonnets from the Portuguese," the couple hoped to conceal the autobiographical inspirations in the content by referring to the sonnets as translations from another language:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


Morris High School I (left)
Bronx, June 25, 2002

From Trinity Avenue between East 165th and 166th Streets in Morrisania.

Looking northeast at Trinity Episcopal Church of Morrisania (1874) right, and Morris High School (1904) left.

Saint Augustine's Church (right)
Bronx, June 29, 2002

Seen from East 167th Street between Franklin Avenue and Boston Road in Morrisania:

Looking northwest at Saint Augustine’s Church (1894). The church originated as a small wood structure built by Irish and German immigrants in 1850. In 1858 it was fortified with brick, but could not withstand the fire that destroyed it three decades later. German born architect Louis H. Giele designed the current building with an entrance façade of ornately carved limestone and Corinthian columns made of marble. Despite its elegant exterior and neighborhood prominence, second only to nearby Morris High School, it is not part of the designated Historic District that is protected by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.


Morris High School II
Bronx, July 11, 2002

From a vacant lot between East 165th and 166th Streets along Boston Road from Franklin to Cauldwell Avenues in Morrisania.

Looking east at the 189-foot tall tower of Morris High School (1904) left, with the Cauldwell Avenue frame houses (1887-1892) below it, and a newly renovated apartment building at center. Recent construction of a condominium in the vacant lot (foreground) completely obscures this view today:

Morris High School I and II, is the architectural centerpiece of the Historic District registered in its name since 1983. Established in 1897 as the Mixed High School, it was briefly named the Peter Cooper High School before it took its later name in honor of Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816), an author of the American Constitution who composed its Preamble, beginning with, "We the People..." From the end of the 17th century to the middle of the 19th century, the district of Morrisania was part of the Morris family estate.

Morris High School (1904) was designed by Charles B. J. Snyder; the master architect and engineer appointed Superintendent of School Buildings, whose brilliant innovations in fireproofing, air circulation and natural lighting improved the environmental conditions for health and safety in over 400 school projects citywide. Snyder's 180,000 square foot Collegiate Gothic building, the first public high school in the Bronx, was forced to close in 2002. But not before it received a $50 million renovation in 1997. As part of New York's New Century High Schools Initiative, a plan that calls for smaller more efficient and effective high schools, Morris High was restructured and renamed Morris Campus to accommodate five new specialty high schools within. Unfortunately, the multimillion-dollar renovation was already complete before the New Century High Schools Initiative was put into effect. Additional renovations that were not anticipated, but are now needed to meet the individual requirements of the five new schools, have been ongoing since 2004.

The Victorian frame houses set below the Morris High School tower II, are examples of the vernacular row houses built by local architects around the same time as the high school. Mixed zoning accounts for changes in the way they are used today as landmark buildings. The house on the right is the home of the Most Worship Esau, Grand Lodge A.A.S.R. Mason Clara Casandra Grand M. Chapter Debaron Civic Association.


Daughters of Jacob Geriatric and Rehabilitation Center
Bronx, July 18, 2002

From the corner of Findlay Avenue and East 167th Street in Morrisania:

Looking northeast at the Daughters of Jacob Center, which began its mission of caring for the poor and the elderly in 1896. It was founded as a home by a group of Jewish women in lower Manhattan who later moved it to the Bronx around 1911. By 1920 it was settled into its current location on a shady hill enclosed by gates and walls. Today it is a non-denominational nursing home.


J&J Flat Fix
Bronx, July 11, 2004

From Bailey Avenue between Heath and Sedgwick Avenues in University Heights:

Looking east at J&J Flat Fix and Auto Body at 2500 Bailey Ave.