Under the Manhattan Bridge


It’s a bit of a paradox — bridges are meant to connect two sides of a gap, to bring them together, but they often act quite intentionally as barriers because the space beneath them is so problematic. There is a tendency to leave it unused and overgrown with weeds, or to give it up for some perfunctory use, like parking.

But there are many creative solutions to dealing with the space underneath a bridge. I came across one of them when I walked under the Manhattan Bridge in New York’s Chinatown. Shops, retail arcades and produce stalls occupy the space beneath its stone arches; a fruit and vegetable market winds its way up the sidewalk along the north side of the bridge. Instead of dividing a neighbourhood in two, the bridge serves as a focal point for Chinatown.




This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Wednesday March 05 2008at 09:03 pm , filed under United States and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

3 Responses to “Under the Manhattan Bridge”

  • BruB says:

    We have spots like this here, under the Bonaventure train arrival track on Notre-Dame, right beside Baron Sport there is a few doors and windows that had shops maybe at one time. It’s a prime example of space that could be used instead of having it as shops for the city.

  • Desmond Bliek says:

    I think that most of the space under the CN viaduct is used as storage – either CN archival storage (so I’ve heard) but also a variety of CN operations storage and also private self-storage businesses. It’s a pity, because the viaduct is actually a pretty neat structure that interfaces well with the surrounding city: it doesn’t cut off any streets (all E-W streets continue through it), the train’s high enough to not be so disruptive from street level (the Bonaventure autoroute, on the other hand…), and it has the potential to form a really interesting link between the Faubourg des Récollets/Cité Multimédia and Griffintown (if the latter survives).

    Check out http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/pls/portal/docs/page/arr_so_fr/media/documents/Proposition_Site1.pdf for an interesting proposal that takes the viaduct somewhere.


  • Donal Hanley says:

    Go to this site and look at bottom of page 20 (28th page of PDF document) – it shows the construction of the viaduct. If those windows could only be opened up again….