Story by Melissa Lee / WRGB Albany CBS 6
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The longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world stands right here in New York State.
“We’re very proud of that,” said Elizabeth Waldstein, Executive Director of the Walkway Over the Hudson Friends Organization
The bridge deck is 212 feet above the Hudson River.
Waldstein explained, “It’s a 1.28 miles long, beautiful walk over the Hudson River with views you really can’t get anywhere else in the world.”
Once the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge built in 1889 it was used to connect goods from across the country with the industrial northeast. In 1974, the tracks burned for several days after catching fire. Finally in 2009 after a huge effort to rebuild, the Walkway Over the Hudson opened to welcome hundreds of thousands of people.
“We have upwards of about 600,000, people a year,” said Waldstein.
The area attracts people like Ken Christian, almost daily.
“This is the healthiest place you can go these days. Fresh air, it’s a great view, the Hudson Valley is just beautiful,” described Christian.
The panoramic view is free of charge.
“As you can see the park is super dog friendly, it’s bicycle friendly, it’s got something for everybody,” according to Assistant Park Manager, Jeff Litwinowicz.
Steps away from the Walkway is Lola’s Café where Owner and Chef Ed Kowalski has been serving customers for 15 years. He has seen firsthand how the Walkway has brought more life to the area.
“Immediately there was foot traffic like that, which wasn’t there before,” explained Kowalski.
Customers pop into his restaurant after working up an appetite on the bridge.
“We have a lot of different healthy options, so you could eat lighter, and then get back and walk across the bridge if you’re parked on the west side.”
Hudson Valley history can be found across more than half a dozen counties.
The Walkway’s latest project is expected to be complete in 2021 and will include a new plaza and pavilion at the top of the Washington Street stairs.
A battery operated 11 person tram service is also expected to launch in the near future for people with disabilities to have an opportunity to enjoy the views.