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Holding Down the Triborough’s Draw-Bridge, From Its Guts To Its Towers

03.25.15 Aymann Ismail

Overlooked by tourists and free of heavy traffic due to its $7.50 toll, the Triborough Bridge complex makes a great destination for urban exploring. What makes it more interesting than say, the Williamsburg or Manhattan Bridge, is that the Harlem span moves.

Its draw-bridge system raises for big boats that need to pass through the East River, which means it’s equipped with an insanely cool mechanical system at the top. Usually 55 feet above water, the lift rises 135-feet above water to let larger vessels through. By law, the bridge is required to raise for marine traffic at any time, night or day, as long as advance notice has been given.

After a vertical, 15-minute climb up straight ladders, we found several massive construction rooms. The equipment was kept in such good condition that it felt like someone must have been cleaning and organizing at the top of the tower before we got there. We didn’t press any buttons, but we spent a while marveling at the expensive-looking gears, heavy machinery, gigantic ropes and oversized pulley system. Check out the inner-workings of the bridge in the gallery above.

(Photos: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)