Walking Over the Tappan Zee Bridge

Did you know that you can walk over the Tappan Zee Bridge?

A new pedestrian and bike path opened in June 2020. Pedestrians on the right. Bikes on the left. We got yelled at for accidentally mixing this up, but so it goes.

The new path spans some 3.6 miles, connecting the towns of Tarrytown and Nyack. The bright blue walkway features some scenic overlook points referred to as “belvederes.” One reminded me of the glass window amphitheater on the NYC High Line that overlooks the street. Sitting on those bleachers watching the cars was mesmerizing. Peering out through this glass window over the Hudson was a bit scarier.

Tappan Zee Bridge Belvedere

For the past two years, our main leisure activity has been walking outside. Pre-Covid, my 10,000 daily steps were organically acquired from an outrageous NYC commute that spanned two hours, three trains, a bus, and a 15-minute walk–and that was just one way. These days, our walks are mostly in nature, on a trail, in a park, at a historic site, or through our favorite, secret homestead.

What’s different about this walk: the zing and zap of the cars buzzing at 60+ mph alongside you (separated by a partition, of course). It was an otherwise gray day, but the rev of the experience was a shot in the arm. A reminder that hey, we are alive, there are cars driving fast across this bridge going somewhere fast, perhaps somewhere important. Just the opposite of those eerie photos we all saw in March 2020 with the busiest thoroughfares in the world entirely absent of cars.

Walking Over the Tappan Zee Bridge

I managed to drive over the Tappan Zee Bridge for the first time in June 2020. It was such a significant occasion that I memorialized it on a tote bag–it’s for sale just in case anyone wants to celebrate their own victory (or mine).

What propelled me to conquer my fear: gluten free mozzarella sticks at Wegmans grocery store. Poetically, just after I made it there and back, a Wegmans opened up on my side of the river. Here’s that story, if you’d like to read my riveting account.

My fear stemmed from memories of the old Tappan Zee, the now demolished structure that evidently not only I was deathly afraid of. Apparently it was deemed the “hold your breath” bridge on account of its structural decay late into the 1990s. And check this out–in the last decade of the old bridge, the New York State Thruway Authority offered a service for gephyrophobics. As of 2008, a driver suffering from the condition (bridge phobia) could call the Authority in advance to have someone drive their car over the bridge! According to Wikipedia, this happened about six times per year. I’m going to call on Monday to determine if this service is still in effect. I’ll keep you posted.

Person with Tappan Zee Bridge Tote Bag Looking at Tappan Zee Bridge Sign
They’ve renamed the bridge, but I resist these renamings. Tappan Zee, Triboro Bridge, etc.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post about walking over the Tappan Zee Bridge, you might like this one about Cellar Doors.

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  1. I love that you still call it the Tappan Zee and not that other gosh awful name… I didn’t realize you could walk/bike over it now. That’s exciting! And I can definitely understand the unnerving feel of the cars zipping by as I used to run across the GW frequently and it took me some time to get used to.

    1. Yes, it’s forever the Tappan Zee to me. As for walking over it, yes, I just crossed my fingers that the cars would stay in their part. 🙂 I used to live right at the GW Bridge. It was the first bridge I ever drove over, and I got stuck for almost one hour. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

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