Joel, Paul, and I planned to walk the four northern bridges across the Harlem River, starting with the Henry Hudson, Robert Moses’ double-decker that ushered in the era of permanent tolls. Moses could only persuade the banks to fund a single deck in 1936, but the volume of traffic and the vast number of dimes paid in tolls convinced them to fund a second deck a couple years later.
While it might be considered beautiful in the abstract, the Henry Hudson Bridge was a vital step in Moses’ career of imposing bridges and highways on the city, regardless of the actual need for them or local residents’ objections. By locating the bridge on park land, he was able to use federal funds for the labor. He built it over the strenuous objections of Riverdale residents. And, its permanent tolls helped fund even more destructive (but lucrative) projects later on.
Lots of step streets in Riverdale!