Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Bridge over 42nd Street

View from the Bridge

Dear Postcards from New York Reader,

While spring has not made up its mind whether to stick around and frequently retreats to allow winter temperatures to take precedence, one group remains unaffected by the iffy weather--- the spring tourist. Undaunted, they are out in force, guidebooks and cameras in hand, snapping away at the sights to be found along the city's most trafficked thoroughfare--42nd Street.

Around Grand Central Station, Times Square, in front of and between the lions that flank the grand marble staircase of the New York Public Library, and near the Chrysler Building, hundreds snap, click, focus their cell phones and arrange themselves in various poses, to find just the right position in front of the famous monuments.

Here's a tip for all visiting photographers; the very best place to photograph or film 42nd Street and its distinguishing landmarks is from the Bridge over 42nd Street.

You've never heard of it? Clearly not as well known, breathtaking or majestic as many of our other famous bridges (images of the Verrazano, Throgs Neck, Whitestone, Brooklyn Bridge and GW flash across your mind) that connect the island of Manhattan, the boroughs and New Jersey; this picturesque stone bridge only connects the south side of 42nd Street to the north side.

Walk east along 42nd Street toward First Avenue. At the corner of Second Avenue you will see McFadden's Pub on the north side of the street. Just after you pause to notice the eye grabbing indoor garden at the Ford Foundation Building, continue walking until you come to a stone stairwell. Walk up the steps alongside a playground. At the top step you'll find you are in one of the two parks that face a cluster of Pre-War buildings known as Tudor City after the gargoyles, turrets and stain glass that embellish the architecture.

Turn right, a few short steps brings you to the middle of the bridge. Above the traffic you can see all the way to New Jersey as 42nd Street winds like a bumpy hill to the Hudson River. Look up; See the soaring pinnacle of the Chrysler Building glistening against the sky? In the distance on your left, there's the spire of the Empire State Building.

Wait, it gets better. Turn around to face the pallid green glass tower of the United Nations, with the East River meandering below, while the over 190 colorful flags of the member nations flap noisily in the wind.

Return after dark for an even more spectacular view.

Jacqueline Cable
For Postcards From New York

Address to Remember: Bridge over 42nd Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenue, 10017.

Directions: From Times Square MTA 7 or S to Grand Central. Walk three blocks.

Photo by Joseph Knight

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