Thursday, July 1, 2010

The new Humboldt Street Bridge finally unveiled today

In 1954 the old Humboldt Avenue Bridge over the Milwaukee River on Milwaukee's East Side was built.  In October of 2008, just a couple months after we moved back to town, the bridge was closed, so that a new and improved bridge could be built over the river.  Actually, it also goes over Riverboat Road, down in Beerline.  The old bridge was 28 feet wide.  The new one is 44 feet wide, with bike lanes, and an ample sidewalk.  The cost of the new bridge is said to be around $8.5 million.  For those of us who live in this part of the city, it has certainly felt like a long wait.  Today the wait is over.  At about 5 o'clock, post meridiem, the new Humboldt Ave. Bridge officially and finally opened.  The celebration started at Lakefront Brewery, and ended up at Red Room, where free beer and brats were served for the occasion.  The opening of the Humboldt Bridge was a real cause of celebration, which seemed to bring together people from Riverwest (like us), East Village, Brady Street, Brewers Hill, and Beerline.  There was a good feeling in the air, a real sense of community celebration, which seemed almost out of proportion for the occasion of a new bridge, until one remembers that this is Milwaukee.  We really don't need much to get us to celebrate.

Ruth and I were in the crowd, and apropos on this occasion, I saw a number of people drinking their beer even before the local dignitaries finished their speeches. We saw the first car across the bridge, the first bicycle, the first bus (the 10 of course), the first dog, and after a while I even saw the first litter. We were among the first pedestrians across. After the ribbon was snipped, we crossed the bridge, and walked over to Red Room, one of the bars at the corner of Humboldt & Water (where Water Street turns into Kane Place). As I say, at Red Room we were treated to free beer and brats (I had a couple pints of Lakefront's Fixed Gear, and Ruth had some Sprecher Ravin Red soda). What I didn't expect was that we'd also get a free raffle ticket. It was for a new bicycle. The drawing was at 8 p.m. I went back for the drawing; didn't win, but it was a fun scene nonetheless.


And here are some pictures we took. 
 
The ribbon cutting took place right across from the building which contains Invivo Fitness center, and the Bayou restaurant.  Bayou tried hard to stay open throughout the construction, but in May they finally had to go out of business.  I hope another Cajun restaurant opens in this neighborhood soon. 

The first bus across the bridge.  Finally the route 10 will be back to normal.
Dogs, bicyclers, pedestrians, beer drinkers, all having a good time.  Some were riding their bikes across the bridge with their plastic cup of beer held in their mouth, or held in one hand. 
The first official canoes go under the bridge.
enjoying the view and some Lakefront beer.

the bridge from about a block away.
looking north from Water Street.
The holes in the bridge railing are just big enough for a dog to stick his head through, and look at the river below.
The classic Milwaukee harp lamp street lights.
looking northeast on the bridge.
The sidewalk on the bridge, with a lookout spot.
The next few pictures show the bridge as it spans the Milwaukee River.
As this picture shows, the bridge also crosses over Riverboat Rd.
This is the old Tasting Room, sadly out of business.
Another one of the bars on Water & Humboldt, The Good Life, did not survive the construction.  I hope they reopen, or that another good vegetarian restaurant takes its place.
Also on the corner of Water & Humboldt, this is Red Room.  Red walls and red ceiling, some nice art on the wall, good beer on tap, this was where the biggest post-ribbon cutting scene was.
Also on the corner of Humboldt & Water, this apartment building has on its first floor, Meglio, one of the city's hippest new pizza restaurants.
As you can see, this neighborhood has suffered during the construction of the new bridge.  It is peppered with places that went out of business, but also with some of the old places still open, and a few new ones already opened.  In the long run, this wonderful little part of the East Side will thrive better than before.

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