Highbridge is a residential neighborhood geographically located in the central-west section of the Bronx, New York City. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 4. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise are the Cross-Bronx Expressway to the north, Jerome Avenue to the east, East 161st Street to the south, and the Harlem River to the west. Ogden Avenue is the primary thoroughfare through Highbridge. ZIP codes include 10452. The area is patrolled by the 44th Precinct located at 2 East 169th Street. NYCHA property in the area is patrolled by P.S.A. 7 at 737 Melrose Avenue in the Melrose section of the Bronx.
The neighborhood takes its name from the High Bridge built in 1848 by Irish immigrants to carry Croton Aqueduct water across the Harlem River. Up until the late 1960s, the residents of Highbridge were predominantly of Irish, Italian and Eastern European Jewish descent. They have since been replaced by large numbers of Hispanics and African Americans.
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Highbridge was 37,727, an increase of 3,883 (11.5%) from the 33,844 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 373.14 acres (151.00 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 101.1 inhabitants per acre (64,700/sq mi; 25,000/km2).
The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 32.9% (12,397) African American, 1.2% (462) White, 0.2% (69) Native American, 0.5% (176) Asian, 0.0% (2) Pacific Islander, 0.3% (103) from other races, and 0.7% (253) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 64.3% (24,265) of the population.
Prior to the 1960s, Highbridge was a predominately Irish American neighborhood. Today the vast majority of residents in the area are of Dominican, Puerto Rican and African American descent. Almost half of the population lives below the federal poverty line.
Highbridge is dominated by townhouses and 5 and 6-story apartment buildings. The total land area is roughly one square mile. The terrain is elevated and very hilly. Stair streets connect areas located at different elevations.
Low income public housing projects
- There are three NYCHA developments located in Highbridge.
- Highbridge Gardens; six, 13-story buildings.
- Highbridge Rehabs (Nelson Avenue); three, 5 and 6-story rehabilitated tenement buildings.
- Highbridge Rehabs (Anderson Avenue)
- PS 11: High Bridge (Merriam and Ogden Avs)
- PS 73: Joseph Dellacava (West 165th St and Anderson Av)
- PS 114x: Luis Llorens Torres Schools (West 166th St and Cromwell Av)
- PS 126: Dr. Marjorie Dunbar (West 166th St and University Av)
- PS 199: William Shakespeare (West 172nd St and Shakespeare Av)
- PS/IS 128: Rafael Hernandez Dual Language Magnet School (West 167th St and Gerard Av)
- IS 361: The Highbridge Green School (200 W. 167th Street), a 2014-2015 Chancellor’s Showcase School
- Bronx School for Law Government and Justice
- Bx11: to Simpson Street station or George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal (via 170th St)
- Bx13: to George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal or 161st Street – Yankee Stadium station (4 B D) (via Ogden Av)
- Bx35: to Simpson Street station or George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal (via 167th St)
And one nice story for HighBridge :
Edgar Allan Poe’s haunted walks on High Bridge
Like so many other New Yorkers, Edgar Allan Poe was known to take long, contemplative walks.
After he moved from a farmhouse in today’s Upper West Side to a wooden cottage in rural Fordham (below), Poe regularly journeyed across the High Bridge, opened in 1848, two and a half miles from his home.
A graceful feat of engineering, the High Bridge carried fresh Croton Aqueduct water from Westchester to Manhattan.
“During Mr. Poe’s residence at Fordham a walk to the High Bridge was one of his favorite and habitual recreations,” wrote Sarah Helen Whitman, a literary contemporary who Poe tried and failed to court.
The dramatic views of the Harlem River and the rocky shores must have suited Poe’s mood. After all, his life was in free fall.
His wife, Virginia Clemm, succumbed to tuberculosis in 1847. And though he would write some of his best work during his Fordham years, including “The Bells” and “Annabel Lee,” Poe’s literary career was falling apart.
He was broke, he drank a lot, and his behavior was becoming increasingly erratic.
“In the last melancholy years of his life—’the lonesome latter years’—Poe was accustomed to walk there at all times of the day and night; often pacing the then solitary pathways for hours without meeting a human being,” continued Whitman.
The 1930 lithograph by B.J. Rosenmeyer (top) captures Poe crossing the High Bridge.
There’s some contention that the dates and image don’t line up. The lithograph depicts a winter scene; Poe wasn’t in New York much during the winter of 1848-1849, the last winter of his life, according to this High Bridge website.
Also, the pedestrian span of the bridge hadn’t been built until 1864, the site explains. (Above, High Bridge around 1900.)
On the other hand, another witness decades after Poe’s death gave a colorful and distressing chronicle of his High Bridge walks.
“With a faded old army cloak over his shoulders, a relic of his old West Point life, he was a familiar object to the staid villagers as he went loitering by through the lanes and over the fields,” a former Fordham acquaintance of Poe’s told a New York Times writer in 1885.
“His favorite route was the aqueduct road, leading over the High Bridge.”