TriBeCa’s Staple Street Skybridge
Happy March, everyone! Temperatures are still quite chilly here in New York City, but we are in a spring state of mind, trying our best to manifest some warmer weather and getting ready to kick off the busy summer season.
In starting Metro Tours about a year ago (hard to believe that it’s already been a year), we were motivated by our love for New York City and we wanted to create a resource for others to get to know the place that we love. Sure, that includes “big ticket” tourist stops like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Charging Bull, but what really excites us are the lesser-known relics that people walk by every day without knowing the unbelievable historical significance behind them. Places like this exist all over the world, of course, and one of our favorite resources to find these often looked over spots is Atlas Obscura.
Atlas Obscura runs a fantastic website and Instagram account full of fun, little known facts about various locations throughout the world (hence the “Obscura”). If good old-fashioned books are more your speed, they have also published an awesome book. Content is contributed by globetrotters in search of “the world’s hidden wonders.” We encourage you to check out all of their resources – we know you will be wowed. In the meantime, enjoy our small contribution to the AO universe. The below was originally written for publication on the AO blog. And spoiler alert: it highlights one of the many stops on our popular TriBeCa Architecture and History Tour. Come out with us, and see it in person!
It may look like just another alleyway in a busy city, but this is a street unlike any other in New York City. Staple Street is one of the smallest streets in the city, running just two blocks. And then there’s that curious feature suspended over this tiny passage.
Look up from Staple Street, and you’ll see a cast-iron bridge, connecting two buildings with separate addresses, suspended three stories above the ground. But why is it there, and what purpose does it serve?
The buildings connected by this bridge once belonged to New York Hospital (known today as New York Presbyterian). If you are looking south, the building on your left (or the east side of Staple Street) is 60 Hudson Street, built in 1893 as the hospital’s “house of relief,” aka the emergency room. On your right, running along the west side of Staple Street, is 9 Jay Street, built in 1907, which housed the hospital’s laundry room. The skybridge was built to connect the third floors of both buildings.
Eventually, the hospital moved, but the skybridge has stayed put over 100 years later. Today, the only hint that a hospital ever existed is the terra cotta shield cartouche boasting the initials “N.Y.H.” on the 9 Jay Street side. Despite several building renovations over the years to the building structures, this charming nod to the site’s original history remains.
Today, the third floors of both buildings together comprise a 7,500-square-foot work/residential loft. In order to own this unique space, you would have to buy both lofts on either side of the skybridge—which means this luxury home in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood features five bedrooms, five bathrooms, high ceilings, plenty of windows, a roof deck and its very own skybridge.
The easiest way to visit the Staple Street Skybridge is to take the 1 train to Franklin Street.