Bridges over the Hudson

On Thanksgiving Day this year, I experienced ye olde Hudson River in a new light, a quite simple light, one that tickled my explorerbone because it concerns the intersection of geography and civil engineering, literally in fact.
We think of our world in diagrams, in images and figures that are easy to conjure, communicate, and comprehend. But diagrams, simplified as such, are always magic doors to worlds of detail and revelation. One should never forget that. Take rivers for example. The first image of a river in most people’s minds is a line– a linear body of water flowing in one direction. And of course, from space, what we see matches what we think we see. But from up close (i.e. the vantage point that most humans are at) the portal of vision reveals tidal shorelines, changing currents (Mahicantuck), and a line thick enough to have skinny linear crossings of its own.
Suddenly I see the river in successive perpendicular lines. It is merely a boundary to be crossed. Instead of studying the character of the line itself, one can study the character of the bridges to surmise what the waters might be doing below. Then, the bridges become diagrams for the larger whole. But despite being mutually dependent, the two never touch, skirting each other in different dimensions.
All this is even more reason to travel long distances by train or boat along geographic boundary lines. You fall into a half-sleep, and these bridges swoop past like punctuation for the perfect dream.
Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge
Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge
Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge
Newburgh-Beacon Bridge
Newburgh-Beacon Bridge
Newburgh-Beacon Bridge
Bear Mountain Bridge
Tappan Zee Bridge
Tappan Zee Bridge
?
George Washington Bridge

Friday November 27th 2015

Author: the.vonz.himanen

Ivan Himanen is an architect, writer, and artist based in New York City.

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