14. Viaducts

Park Avenue Viaduct, a New York City Landmark

There are three viaducts that hold New York City landmark status – the Manhattan Valley Viaduct which runs from 122nd to 135th Streets, the Pershing Square Viaduct which runs on Park Avenue from Grand Central Terminal, and the 155th Street Viaduct which runs from St. Nicholas Place to the Macomb’s Dam Bridge (also landmarked). The Manhattan Valley Viaduct was built for the IRT subway line and the Landmarks Preservation Commission reports that it “is the most imposing and visually impressive aboveground engineering structure of the IRT subway system” and an “excellent example of a double-hinged parabolic braced arch structure. Supporting both the tracks and the 125th Street station, the viaduct is a testament to the skill of the engineers and contractors who designed and built New York City’s first subway between 1900 and 1904.”

The metal and iron Pershing Square Viaduct was designed by the architects of Grand Central Terminal, Warren & Wetmore. it was included as part of the central circulation system of the terminal itself and made Park Avenue a complete north-south avenue. The steel 155th Street viaduct, as the designation report notes, “provides a gradual descent toward the bridge from the heights of Harlem to the west.” Work on the viaduct began in 1890 and it was completed three years later.