• Doug Foster

Bridge over the Tappan Zee

Many people may be nostalgic for the old Tappan Zee bridge’s name, but most are smitten by the design of its replacement. There is something awe inspiring about the new bridge , and what is great is the variety of dramatic perspectives it can be experienced:


  • subject on the Hudson

  • background to a subject

  • location to serve incredible views

  • threshold as you pass under it.


Each experience is different, and Nyack Boat Charter has the pleasure of offering the fourth perspective that most don’t have the opportunity to see, from underneath.


A Short History

Construction for the new bridge, the longest in New York State (3.1 miles), started in October 2013. One of the two spans opened to traffic four years later in October of 2017. The first car over the new bridge (which is now call the Governor Mario M Cuomo Memorial Bridge) was driven by governor Andrew Cuomo, and with him was Armando “Chick” Galella from Sleepy Hollow, who was the first driver over the bridge in 1955 in a car that was the same make and model, a 1955 Corvette. The last car allowed over the old bridge was a 1929 Model A Ford driven and owned by my friend Seth Kestenbaum. The second span opened to traffic on September 7, 2018.


The old Tappan Zee bridge, which first connect Nyack and Tarrytown, opened on December 14, 1955, and 64 years later it was dismantled after the new bridge had been built. One of the sections had become unstable, and there was concern it may fall onto the new bridge, so it was taken down with a dramatic demolition (see a video).


The Bridge from Below

When we go out on the Hudson on a charter, the highlight is often when we go under the bridge. There is an awesome feeling as you pass underneath. I think it is a combination of the freshness of new construction, the symmetry as you look down the bridge on each side, and the majestic height and simplicity of the design.


Hudson View from the Bridge

We did a private sail for a group in 2017 and the group wanted to go under the bridge, as many do. This group, however, said they had a brother working on the bridge. They called him and he was actually working on the main span at that time, and answered his cell. He took several pictures of us as Al Vento was passing under the bridge. It was a great perspective, looking down from 150 feet above the Hudson. Everybody can now get this perspective (looking north) from the pedestrian/bicycle path, since it was opened in June 2020.






The Bridge as Subject

The 3.1 mile long bridge is a noble subject, either all on its own, lit up at sunset or an ever changing variety of colors, or setting up a rising moon or sun. It can be magical.





The Bridge as a Backdrop

The bridge also makes a perfect background to a subject on the Hudson, adding a dramatic sense. It can be a special occasion like a wedding, which we did on Al Vento, or just out having fun, sailing, motor boating, or Fliteboarding.



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