Guerrilla History & Urban Exploration

On the cable of the GW Bridge - With permission!

New York Post
April 14, 2009
Article by Don Kaplan
My deepest thanks to Don for taking me along as the photographer on such a fun assignment! Don is an excellent writer and a deeply interested & thoughtful reporter. It's too bad that it didn't get more space to run-- I think that there should have been more of both his article and my photos.

Hudson River Railroad- Question for Readers:

Dear Readers,
I'm trying to determine for sure when the Hudson River Railroad along Manhattan's West Side Line first opened, and specifically when the first railroad bridge opened that carried the line across the Spuyten Duyvil Creek. Can you help?

According to this 1988 article from the NY Times, the railroad:
"...crossed Spuyten Duyvil Creek, now the Harlem River, on a wooden drawbridge. The bridge was built no later than 1848, when service was extended to Fishkill. Later, service was extended to Albany, and points west and north."
http://www.nytimes.com/1988/03/06/realestate/streetscapes-spuyten-duyvil-swing-bridge-restoring-a-link-in-the-city-s-lifeline.html(This statement is already a bit suspect because the mouth of Spuyten Duyvil Creek is not technically the "Harlem River," but is rather part of the Harlem River Ship Canal that connects the Hudson and Harlem Rivers.)

A more comprehensive, but contradictory history of the bridge is here:
This article by James Renner says that "The New York & Hudson River Railroad was incorporated on May 6, 1847" and that:
The first tracks were opened on September 29, 1849, running from Manhattan (Chambers Street) to Peekskill along the eastern shore of the Hudson River. By December 31st of that year, the system was extended to Poughkeepsie and then finally to Albany. At the Spuyten Duyvil a wooden trestle was constructed to connect Manhattan with the Bronx.

So we have 1848 and 1849... and on top of that I've also seen 1851. Of course I'm more inclined to believe James Renner's account, as his detail is much more extensive. But does anyone have any authoritative references or primary sources on this? Please email me at steve@undercity.org