10. Highbridge Water Tower in Manhattan + Highbridge Steep Street in the Bronx
Connecting the neighborhoods of Washington Heights in Manhattan and Highbridge in the Bronx is the High Bridge, New York City’s oldest standing bridge. After being closed for 45 years, the High Bridge was reopened by the NYC Parks Department in 2015. Bookending this historic structure are the Highbridge Water Tower and Highbridge Step-Street, both of which underwent a complete restoration in 2021.
At 200 feet tall, the Highbridge Water Tower stands on a bluff above the High Bridge and Harlem River. The tower opened in 1870 with a capacity of nearly 11 million gallons, generating enough water pressure to serve 90 percent of the High Service Area. The tower was even featured as a piece in the 1891 board game Towers, created by Selchow & Righter—known for also producing Parcheesi and Scrabble. In 1949, the Highbridge Water Tower ceased system operations and the city planned to raze the structure as it had become a target of vandalism. Before this could happen, the structure was saved by Robert Moses. On the Bronx end of the bridge lies the Highbridge Step Street, an elegant switchback staircase.