Saturday, January 17, 2009

Little Bay Park

It began in 1883 when the Brooklyn Bridge spanned the East River, connecting lower Manhattan with Brooklyn. In the years that followed, each decade seemed to produce a new span that linked Manhattan and the Bronx, with Brooklyn and Queens. By 1961, there were eight bridges and more than a dozen tunnels traversing the divide of the river. 48 years ago this week, in a sort of golden spike moment, the Throgs Neck Bridge opened. From the Battery Tunnel to Long Island Sound, the East River had been conquered from both above and below. To the best of my knowledge, that is not exactly how the opening of the Throgs Neck Bridge was viewed. Newspaper articles of the day reported it as one more link of a bigger plan that would continue eastward. Throgs Neck was built to ease traffic congestion on the Whitestone Bridge, and there would be future bridges across the Sound to ease the traffic of the Throgs Neck. There were already plans in the works by Robert Moses for a Rye-Oyster Bay Bridge, a New Haven-Shoreham Bridge, and an Orient Point-Rhode Island Bridge. Each project promising to solve the traffic congestion created by the previous bridge. Obviously, these bridges and tunnels were never built. But every so often, the issue is resurrected again as a cure-all for our traffic problems. The latest version is a tunnel extending from Interstate 287 to Oyster Bay. This project has most likely been shelved due to the current fiscal crisis, but it will reappear when prosperity returns. Little Bay Park is a thin parcel of land wedged between the Cross Island Parkway, Fort Totten, and the Throgs Neck Bridge. When I visited recently, there were many joggers, as well as people walking their dogs. A few visitors just sat in their cars, looking out at Little Bay, and the traffic jam on the bridge that marks the entry to the East River from Long Island Sound. Map

1 comment:

Swamp Thing said...

I was really excited to find your blog. My family is from LI (LIC to Hicksville) and from Brooklyn...I really enjoy the "urban nature" of LI Sound and NYC in general...there's still peace to be found where anonymity replaces isolation!