Views from sixteen years of climbing bridges in New York City. I set myself the task of climbing to the top of every bridge around Manhattan, and completed the project when I climbed to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge in 2007 (which is hopefully well outside the statute of limitations at this point).
The final few pictures are not bridges. There is the parachute jump from the 1939 World's Fair, now at Coney Island; the view from the observation towers from the 1964 World's Fair, which still stand tall in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens; and then there is me standing on one of the glorious stainless-steel eagles on the Chrysler building. I'm including these places just because they also involve climbing up high, and because I love them.
Arthur Kill Bridge
View down from the top of one of the lift towers of the Arthur Kill Bridge, between Staten Island and New Jersey
Sewers of London and Paris
Sewers of NYC #1
A Few Old Favorites
Bradford Beck, Bradford, UK
Arthur Kill Bridge, Looking Down from West Lift Tower
Utility Tunnel Diptych: St Paul, MN
St Paul & Minneapolis, MN - the twin cities - probably have the most extensive urban underground networks in the US, in terms of human-accessible tunnels; this is because of their particular geology, combined with their history as industrial powerhouses. The cities sit on a layer of limestone (which has some natural caves), and then below that is a very thick layer of sandstone-- and the sandstone is much easier to tunnel through than the soft dirt and mud or the hard bedrock that underlies many other cities.
Paris Catacombs - Salle Egyptienne
Paris - Petit Ceinture, heading to catacombs
Queensboro Bridge, view toward Queens
Tent of Tomorrow and Meadow Lake
View from the top of the Observation Towers from the NY Pavilion from the 1964 World's Fair in Queens, NYC. This is the view south, looking out over the landscaped environment of Queens-- a human-impacted landscape that has created a dense urban area out of what was once a vast muddy marsh along the Flushing River. (Meadow Lake, in the background, is a reshaped water feature along the old Flushing River route.)
Tour St-Jacques, Paris
Williamsburg Bridge, NYC
NYC Subways - Track switches under Brooklyn
Manhattan Bridge, NYC
River Fleet, now a sewer, London, UK
Three Layers of Paris, Rue St Jacques
This is a series of three photos taken at the same spot in Paris but at three different vertical elevations. At the top, I stood on the rooftop of a building along the Rue St Jacques to get the classic image of Parisian rooftops with the Eiffel tower in the background (it was a misty night, and on a long exposure everything became permeated with the yellow-orange glow of the city). In the middle is a night-time view of the empty street itself, and at the bottom-- about 60 feet, or 20 meters, below the level of the street-- is a view along one of the old quarry tunnels, aka the Paris Catacombs, running underneath the same street.
Walbrook Stream, or London Bridge Sewer, London, UK
View from the Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital toward Manhattan
Sunswick Creek, now a sewer - Queens, NYC
Adventures in (natural) caving
These pictures are from gypsum caves in western Ukraine; in some areas the caves are lined with small crystals, and in other areas the gypsum crystals grow to several feet long. (Gypsum is soft enough to be scratched by a fingernail, which is what previous cavers had done on the crystal lying at the base of the set of large gypsum crystals shown here.)
The skeleton is not the sort of thing one usually finds in caves; it is the remnants of an explorer from the late 19th century who made the twin mistakes of going by himself, and not taking enough light. Local cavers know of his remains and leave them untouched, perhaps as an object reminder to contemporary cavers to be careful on their own adventures.
In the final pictures, you can see cavers doing a cave survey-- measuring and recording distances and angles-- the incredibly laborious process that ultimately produces detailed maps of underground spaces. The cave shown in these final images is one where two Jewish families lived for more than a year during the Nazi occupation of Ukraine; by living in the cave they managed to escape from the killers who wiped out nearly all Jews in the country. The broken pottery shards, remnants of shoes, and an old millstone are relics from their occupancy.