Technically speaking, The Bronx-Manhattan High Bridge is the oldest in the City, dating back to 1848. It was built 35 years before the Brooklyn Bridge, but portions of it have been replaced whereas the Brooklyn Bridge is mostly original.
Either way, the bridge has been closed off to the public for 40 years as it underwent renovations. Starting this Tuesday, June 9th, you can once again cross the oldest bridge by foot and admire the pipes feeding the old Croton Aqueduct below.
The bridge opened to carry the aqueduct across the Harlem River in 1848, and its walkway was completed in 1864, making it a popular spot to promenade on a nice day. The bridge achieved fame as an attraction for New Yorkers and tourists and a favorite subject for artists and photographers, a sort of 19th century High Line. The walkway’s popularity led to the building of hotels, restaurants and amusement parks in the vicinity.