New York Roads - NY 9A - West St./West Side Hwy.

NY 9A - West Street, West Side Highway

These are on the long ramp from NY 9A SB that bypasses the signal at the end of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel (secret I-478) and ties into the SB tunnel. NY 9A then ends by burrowing under the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and emerging as FDR Drive. Read that again. Surface road. Under. Tunnel. It makes no sense to me either, but that's what they did.

MW submitted this error detour shield at Liberty St.

All southbound along West St., the surface-street continuation of West Side Highway ever since sections of the old highway started falling down. That's right, there was a freeway all the way down from W. 57th St. to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. And every sign was button copy. At least the parking garage at 48th St. still has button copy, and at least a few of the turns (especially in Lower Manhattan) still have exit numbers. And at least there's a Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel trailblazer among the other signs that are all new and mistake-ridden (see the exit tabs and distances for Exits 5 and 3, for example). The I-495 signage also harkens back to olden days, but the Lincoln Tunnel is now just NY 495 since the cancellation of the Mid-Manhattan Expressway, and it's not ever signed as a route.

A newish pedestrian arch, NB at Chambers St.

Southbound by the USS Intrepid's parking garage. In 2011, a plain blue sign replaced the old green one, but the reverse-color button copy lives on! Click for a closeup.

NB in the same garage.

NB at Exits 3 and 5, complete with strange bubbled exit numbers.

LGS's like this crop up throughout midtown Manhattan, although the only remaining section of the West Side Highway is between 57th and 72nd Streets - the rest is technically West Street, 11th Ave., and 12th Ave., but everyone calls it the WSH anyway. (They even call the Henry Hudson Parkway the WSH within Manhattan, although that's just an utter error.)

Neatly framing the remaining West Side Highway, which now only runs from 57th St. to 72nd St. It really should be folded into Henry Hudson Parkway. And the HHP really should have a white on green shield, like at the top of this page. And the NY shield should not be rounded on the bottom. Titillating tidbit: the entire Henry Hudson Parkway is reference route 907V, but almost all of it is also NY 9A, creating a most unusual duplex; even though the route shields are for the signed highway, New York's green route markers are for 907V.

Look west at 69th St. and you might think you're seeing ruins, but these are intentionally being preserved. This was the 69th St. Transfer Bridge, a location that accepted rail cars being floated over from Weehawken Yards because there is no freight rail connection across the lower Hudson River. There were a lot more locations like this, but these were the last ruins not cleaned up for riverfront redevelopment, and the city decided some memory of former industry ought to be preserved. Of the three transfer piers, only the northern one had the large overhead structure that you see in the third photo. What's mostly missing here is wooden dockwork that has rotted away.

Speaking of the West Side Highway, here are the traces of what it used to do south of 72nd St. Seen from Riverside Blvd. at 63rd St., there are empty girders to the north where the NB roadway once came in and the current highway now narrows. 72nd Street used to have a left entrance into the SB roadway, hence the split. Looking south, there are more empty girders, but those were by design. The West Side Highway always used the narrow roadway north of 57th St.; the NB side first moved over on these girders, enabling the SB left merge, and then the SB side moved over north of the interchange.

Seen from the Hudson River Greenway, here is the underside of the West Side Highway, heading south.

The effect is even cooler from ground level at 72nd St., with a grand colonnaded arch for a road that was never completed: the SB exit to 70th St. The northern limits of the West Side Hwy. viaduct were double-deck with the lower level carrying the 72nd St. onramp to NY 9A SB. It then popped up into the left merge I mentioned above. All of this opened in 1932.

Without being or having a dog, I chose to get only this far under the viaduct, but it's good enough for some prime views of Roads That Aren't: SB exit ramp in the 1st photo, former NB carriageway in the 2nd photo, beginning of the trusswork that supported the NB S-curve at 72nd St. in the third photo. Not only was the SB left entrance removed, but so was the NB exit, leaving just one ramp from 72nd St. onto NY 9A NB here. 79th St. has a full interchange, and I fear for the remaining ramp.

Continue north on NY 9A
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Continue "south" on FDR Drive
To the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel
Exit 3 to I-78 (Holland Tunnel)
Exit 5 or 6 to NY 495 (Lincoln Tunnel)
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