Old New York In Photos #18

Henry Hudson Parkway and Riverside Park December 6, 1937

Photo © Ben Heller (Underwood & Underwood)

Looking north from 72nd Street on December 6 , 1937 we see the newly opened stretch of The Henry Hudson Parkway.

Headed by Robert Moses, the West Side Improvement project was built between 1934 and 1937. One of the main parts of the improvement, was the connection of The West Side Express Highway to The Henry Hudson Parkway.

The 6.7 mile parkway stretch from 72nd to Dyckman Streets cost $23,340,000, and was opened to the public on October 12, 1937.  This portion of roadway connected to the 4.5 miles of the parkway from Dyckman Street in Manhattan to near Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx that was opened on December 12, 1936.

A motorist could now drive uninterrupted from Canal Street on the West Side Highway in lower Manhattan through the Henry Hudson Parkway, all the way to the city line at Westchester to the Saw Mill River Parkway in about twenty minutes.  As you can see, traffic was not a problem then, as few New Yorker’s owned automobiles.

The city also created 78 acres of play area with children’s playgrounds, ball fields and tennis courts.  A total of 132 acres of new park land was created by filling land under water and covering railroad tracks.

In the photograph, you can see the boat basin at 79th Street is under construction. In the background is the single-decked George Washington Bridge. The lower level of the bridge was added in 1962.

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