This is a view to the east from our terrace. When we first moved here in 1976, it was a much more expansive view, but, New York being what it is, a host of new huge buildings have gone up along Third Avenue and so we are miraculously left with this view of a little slice of the river and of two bridges in the distance. Those bridges are the RFK Bridge (once known as the Triboro Bridge, an uninspired name if ever there were one, but descriptive) and the old Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge, over which the trains from Penn Station travel on their way to New England.
I have decided that it would be a fun idea to walk across the RFK (Triboro) Bridge (no, I wasn’t on any drug except coffee at the time). And the first leg was to find out how exactly one gets from the RFK Bridge to Manhattan. Getting on in Queens was easy to find on the internet. Getting off on Randall’s Island was not so simple. So, I asked my son, Zach, who trained for the Marathon by running back and forth to Randall’s Island Park (among other far-flung places), to come with me and show me how such a walk might work.
So we set out on a beautiful day (of which we have had many this summer). We walked over to the FDR drive at 96th Street and took the path along East River. In the distance we could see the footbridge that would carry us across. Doesn’t it look graceful?
And this is a view on the footbridge itself.
Since we live in New York, most bridges have been fitted with fencing that makes it more difficult for “people” to throw things off at other people passing below. I know, I know … it’s hard to believe that “people” do such things. It is maddeningly astoundingly mindblowingly (maybe not a word, but you get the idea) STUPID. And this is the view we are left with on the footbridge itself:
I guess it’s cute that some sweet couple pledged their love forever by leaving a lock on the fences. Awwwwww …
Moving on, this is what greets you on the other side of the footbridge. I was very glad that there was no reason to put a fence around it.
This is a picture of the Triboro (sorry, RFK) Bridge up a little closer. Do you think it is the beautiful blue sky, or the clouds, or the water that makes even this most practical of bridges something to admire?
And here is the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge. If I had been paying a little attention, I would have gotten a picture of a train coming over that bridge. But I was too busy enjoying the sun and the blue sky and the clouds. You will have to imagine it!
Then we got a surprise and something of a puzzle. Beneath the uprights of the Triboro Bridge (there I go again), there was a 8 or 10 foot high stump of a tree that had been (guessing) fifty to sixty years old when it was cut. All of the bark had been worn off and an amazing tree face was left.
Here is the puzzle. The Bridge was opened to the public by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. If it had been cut off at that time, I doubt that even a stump would still be left. Therefore, it seem more likely that it began to grow sometime after the bridge was first opened and continued to grow in this unlikely spot until someone realized that it might be doing damage to the bridge itself. So, is it a face that is smiling at the thought that it lasted so long, or a face that is sad considering what it might have become? Your choice.
Then I got the big surprise. Zach led me to a path that I never knew existed, past wetlands habitat and lined with beautiful flowers. Butterflies were on the flowers. And, although this is a terrible photograph (it just would not sit still) I was able to identify it as a spicebush swallowtail. Nice!
So here are some photographs of the path that we walked. The first is looking across the East River toward Harlem.
This one shows how the path winds through the trees. The shade was very inviting on that hot summer day.
Purple flowers. Who does not like purple flowers? Are they lavender? I don’t know.
More flowers of many types. Bees and butterflies were plentiful.
All in all, it was a beautiful day, and as we passed back over the footbridge, I barely thought once about “people” who throw things off bridges. Although I did curse the fence.