While summer hasn’t officially started yet, in NYC it’s very much starting to feel like it! We’ve had a full schedule over the past weeks with scavenger hunts, a talk with the head of North America’s largest transit system, and even a hike! Here’s a dispatch from one of our members about the experience he had hiking with YPT last month:
Trip Recap: Hiking the Old Croton Aqueduct
Last weekend a group of YPT’ers from the New York City Chapter embarked on a hike along New York’s Old Croton Aqueduct. The group took Metro North’s Hudson Line to Tarrytown, offering a splendid opportunity to take in beautiful views of the Hudson River and catch a glimpse of the under-construction Tappan Zee Bridge replacement. After strolling through Tarrytown’s charming and walkable historic downtown (and patronizing a local bakery), the group reached the trail and began to head south along a beaten footpath.
The Old Croton Viaduct was built between 1937 and 1942 and comprised a 41-mile route between the Croton River in Westchester County and two large retaining reservoirs in Manhattan, at the current day sites of Central Park’s Sheep Meadow and the Central Branch of the New York Public Library. The aqueduct consisted of an 8.5-foot tall by 7.5-foot wide cast iron tube, and was marked every mile or so by stone ventilation towers. The aqueduct supplied 35,000,000 gallons of water to New York City every day from upstate New York, and was responsible for greatly improving health and sanitation in the growing city. The city’s growing demand for water necessitated the construction of a second Croton Aqueduct in 1890, which largely superseded the original. [More info>]
The Aqueduct’s path through Tarrytown and subsequent communities cut through backyards and woods, across cemeteries, major roads, and a college campus. The YPT hikers marveled at the proximity of the trail to homes and the number of people enjoying the route on foot and bike. The group, consisting of a vibrant mix of transit planners, engineers, and newcomers at a range of New York and New Jersey agencies and companies, enjoyed spirited banter and productive networking while discovering the trail’s hidden secrets. These included a “Keeper’s House” dating back to 1857, as well as Untermyer Park, an expansive series of gardens offering spectacular views of the Hudson River.
While the aqueduct trail continues all the way to Van Cortlandt Park, the group opted to blaze their own trail to the Yonkers Brewing Company, where they enjoyed beer, burgers, and a bit of railfanning. Before catching a train back to the city, the group explored Yonkers’ burgeoning waterfront and the recent “daylighting” of the Saw Mill River, which has opened up new public space in the heart of downtown. All in all, it was a great opportunity to get out of the city for the day, explore a bit of the region’s historic infrastructure, and connect with likeminded adventurers.
Thanks again to David Andrew for the dispatch! How are your summers going?