For budding kid architects (and the kid inside all of us), there’s a miniature playground version of the George Washington Bridge at J. Hood Wright Park in Washington Heights! A long jungle gym features two of the George Washington Bridge towers between a “suspension bridge” with its notable criss-cross steel design. Readers of Untapped Cities may remember that the bridge was supposed to be clad in stone, decorated in the Beaux Arts style, but the Depression ended that plan. In late fall and winter when the trees have lost their leaves, you can actually see the playground George Washington Bridge and the real one at the same time.
The 6.7 acre park on West 173rd Street between Haven Avenue and Fort Washington Avenue is named after a Gilded Age financier who lived in a mansion nearby. Today, Wright may be most known for a hospital, the J. Hood Wright Hospital which later became the Knickerbocker Hospital, the main inspiration for the hospital of the same name in the show The Knick.
Other interesting things to look for at this park: an outcropping of Manhattan schist, a cave, and a 36 foot sculpture that won’t be completed until the year 3000 A.D., it is estimated. That’s because the magnesium and aluminum layers of the art piece, titled 3000 A.D. diffusion piece, by Terry Fugate-Wilcox are fusing into an alloy over time.
Next, read about the secrets of the George Washington Bridge.