Randall's Island

Wards Island New York NY Travel Blog

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The gap betwen The Bronx (left) and Randall's Island (right) is very narrow

I was up late today. No time to drive out of the city to get some fresh air and exercise. Yet I still needed to add some steps for the Global Corporate Challenge. So I decided to head out to nearby Randall's Island. I had not been there for some time. The first time I visited the place was exactly 4 years and two days ago.

Randall's Island has seen many developments and has had many uses over time. From farmland to burial grounds, from a place of hospitals and institutions to recreation. With the opening of the Hell Gate Rail Bridge in 1916 and the Triboro Bridge in 1936, the formerly isolated island gets thousands of "visitors" a day. 

The island used to be much smaller. Its surface was almost doubled when the narrow Little Hell Gate was filled with construction debris, adding the southern Ward's Island to Randall's Island.

The entrance of the former Little Hell Gate at sunset. Sun setting over over Manhattan
The site of the former Little Hell Gate can still be seen from the trestle of the Hell Gate Bridge. At that specific point it contains two sturdy pillars with little towers and metal support beams. The former road bridge has unfortunately been demolished.

In the last years the island began to fall in disrepair. Fortunately the Randall's Island Park Alliance, which was founded in 1992, and the NYC Parks Commission, took action and redeveloped the area. Baseball fields, a tennis court, walking and bicycling paths were constructed and the last remaining section of Little Hell Gate was turned into a nature reserve.

I entered via the 125th Street Manhattan Bridge. Walked to the Bronx Bridge and briefly hiked off the island into the Bronx, and back. I made my way back to Manhattan via the landfilled Little Hell Gate, Ward Island and the 103rd Street Foot Bridge, which had been re-opened lately (June) after a two-year restoration project. The bridge is now open all year and 24-hours per day.

More pictures below!

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The gap betwen The Bronx (left) an…
The gap betwen The Bronx (left) a…
The entrance of the former Little …
The entrance of the former Little…
Developed by the Randalls Island …
Developed by the Randall's Island…
The railroad and car bridge to the…
The railroad and car bridge to th…
View over the sea towards North Br…
View over the sea towards North B…
View over the sea towards North Br…
View over the sea towards North B…
The railroad trestle where it used…
The railroad trestle where it use…
The railroad trestle where it used…
The railroad trestle where it use…
The 103rd Street Foot Bridge
The 103rd Street Foot Bridge
Randalls Island (Wards Island), a…
Randall's Island (Wards Island), …
Wards Island New York NY
photo by: mdalamers