Here's a thrill better than any amusement park ride, and with none of the long lines: a brisk walk or bike ride across the George Washington Bridge in Washington Heights.
Completed in 1931, the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge currently has one shared path for pedestrians and bicyclists: the newly-renovated north sidewalk. (The south side is under construction.)
To reach it, enter near the corner of West 180th Street and Cabrini Boulevard, just three blocks west of Broadway (more directions can be found here).
After a few smooth turns along the wider new path, you'll pass a large viewing platform off to the side, where you can stop to take in the sights and learn about the history of the bridge.
Return to the main path and you'll soon reach the actual bridge with its two massive towers. Unlike the Brooklyn Bridge, here the towers have been left exposed, giving them their signature crisscross look.
They're surely the reason why French architect Le Corbusier called the George Washington Bridge the most beautiful bridge in the world.
As you continue across the bridge, which at its center is about 212 feet from the water, you'll see a tall metal fence running along the side that faces the Hudson.
(It should be said: If you have a fear of heights, this bridge is not for you—the sidewalk puts you very close to the GWB's vertigo-inducing edge.)
It will take you about 20-30 minutes to walk across to Fort Lee, New Jersey, and about half that time to bike across. Pedestrians have the right-of-way.
Once you reach Fort Lee, you can continue on to Fort Lee Historic Park and other parts of the Palisades Interstate Park, or return to Manhattan the same way you came.
Note: The sidewalk is open daily from 6am to 11:59pm, but subject to closures depending on the weather, maintenance or construction. The Port Authority keeps an updated page you should consult ahead of any visit; there's also an email and texting alert system regarding sidewalk closures.
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