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Port Morris Ferry Bridges

Photo 

Port Morris Ferry Bridges

nps.gov

View this photo at nps.gov

BH Photo #291578

Map 

Street View 

Description 

The Port Morris Ferry Bridges occupy a portion of a fenced-off city-owned lot immediately adjacent to the East River. The two ferry bridges are constructed of steel and copper in a truss (likely a pony truss, in the early stages of its use for such bridges). Both structures were entirely covered in corrugated sheet metal as a means of protecting the beams of the bridge against weathering, which appears to be unusual for a bridge of this nature. (2) For example, the transfer bridges in Long Island City, Governorís Island, and the 69th Street Transfer Bridge on the west side of Manhattan only featured sheet metal covering at the top of the structures. (3) At Port Morris, corrugated steel also covered the supporting truss columns of the ferry bridges. These columns, in contrast to those on other ferry bridges or gantry cranes, featured one or two fixed metal windows with nine panes of glass (3x3) on each face. The horizontal hood at the top of each structure features four of the same windows (oriented 2x3) at the top of each face. One of the ferry bridges no longer displays windows, however, because the metal sheet covering the truss has fallen off. Most of the windows on the supporting beams are intact where the metal covering remains. Though the corrugated steel sheets have begun to deteriorate and fall away, the inner framework of beams of both bridges are sturdy. (4) The structures have faced a great deal of rusting, and are currently a deep bronze or copper in color. The wire rope pulley systems on the ferry bridges remain intact, though rusted.

The gangway, now in a state of deterioration, is a bridge that makes use of wooden trusses to support the gangway deck. The ferry bridge is supported at its outer end by a pontoon, which, during use, provided buoyancy at the inner end by a hinge or rollers. (5) To adjust the height of the gangway, counterweights (some of which still exist on the structures) were employed. They are fastened to the bridge with chain or wire cables carried over wheels (or sheaves) mounted in an overhead frame. These are visible today at the top of the ferry bridges.

Use of a gallows-like arrangement to raise and lower a gangway using cables and pulleys goes back to the early days of ferry operations in New York. This arrangement allowed the gangway deck to be aligned with the deck of the ferry. The gangways at Port Morris, in addition to accommodating the rise and fall of the ferry as it floated in the water, were designed to absorb some of the impact of large ferries coming to rest in the slip. (6) Ferry slips were also framed with timber pilings driven into the river bottom and lined with flexible vertical planks, called racks, to absorb the impact of the boats entering the slips. Besides their weathered wooden features, the Port Morris Ferry Bridges and slips follow the pattern of these essential design features. (NRHP Form)

Facts 

Overview
Bridge
Location
New York City, Bronx County, New York
Status
Intact but closed to all traffic
History
Built 1948
Recognition
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on February 5, 2014
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.79963, -73.90860   (decimal degrees)
40°47'59" N, 73°54'31" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/592066/4517087 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Central Park
Inventory numbers
NRHP 13001150 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 62578 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 19, 2014: New Street View added by Luke
  • August 19, 2014: Added by Dave King

Sources 

  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • nps.gov - NRHP Nomination Form
  • Luke