Day 1: Crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge

Approaching the Tappan Zee Bridge

Approaching the Tappan Zee Bridge

The roads around New York City pose as formidable an obstacle as any towering mountain range or raging river – if it were not for visiting our cousin we would have crossed the Hudson further north near Albany to avoid the mess. But it is what it is. Pops had found coordinates to take us around the city, but the drive towards it was filled with traffic and slowdowns – thanks in part to rubberneckers who wanted to see why a group of motorcyclists had been pulled over by the police in the opposite lane as we struggled on to the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The Tappan Zee is a wide stretch of the Hudson River north of New York City, dominated by cliffs on the western side. The bridge itself is a great hulking mass of grey-painted steel, built sometime in the 1950’s and is being overwhelmed by the combined forces of nature and increasing traffic. Like the rest of the nation’s infrastructure, it is too important to scrap, and too expensive to replace or properly repair – so there it stands, it’s two towers and a latticework of curving girders bleeding rust under to slowly clearing skies.

The hills beyond it were staggering in their own way, the roads clawed out of the solid rock to create and provide a scenic drive. Here new barriers appear along the roadside, bales of stone, wrapped up in galvanized metal mesh from chain link fences to provide relief from the noise of the road for the people living beyond. Given time, they will turn green from plants establishing themselves in the cracks and crannies of the stone, providing a greener setting than the oddly stacked walls of rock and fence. Quarries could be seen here and there, still cutting stone out of these small mountains.

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