Feb. 29, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
Despite a push from Astoria’s elected officials, Amtrak has stated that it does not believe repainting the faded Hell Gate Bridge is necessary.
Last week, U.S. Reps Joe Crowley and Carolyn Maloney, State Sen. Michael Gianaris, Assembly Member Aravella Simotas and Council Member Costa Constantinides wrote a letter requesting that Amtrak complete a “fresh, uniform coat of paint” for the bridge ahead of its centennial anniversary.
Construction on the famously durable bridge was completed in September 1916. It has only been fully repainted once in its 100-year history, in 1996 at a cost of $55 million, with a special “Hell Gate Red” color that faded almost immediately.
“Despite its superior design and historic significance, the Hell Gate Bridge has been allowed to take on an unbecoming appearance,” the officials wrote. “[It] stands today covered in a patchwork of pink, beige, and brown. Given the significance of this year in the history of the bridge, and Queens’s burgeoning identity as a premier tourist destination, we believe that the time is right to turn Hell Gate into another jewel adorning New York City’s waterfront.”
However, Amtrak spokesperson Craig Schulz told the Astoria Post in an e-mail: “While the paint that was applied to the main span in 1996 has discolored, the judgment of the Amtrak Engineering Department is that the paint still provides adequate protection of the steel and is preventing structure deterioration.”
“The current condition of the paint will allow it to continue providing the level of protection for some years to come,” Schulz added.
I have LEGALLY Climbed and photographed this bridge many times and I personally know Gustav Lindenthal’s family! Incedently the top photograph I took back in 1997 with my 8×10 camera on the Queens side of the bridge. My website is http://www.davefrieder.com
I think painting it is a fabulous idea! One of my favorite bridges!!!
Paint it black. That’s the original color.
What would the Astoria Polish population care about this bridge?
They like walking under it !
Security first and painting second. Please focus on the fact that the amount of graffiti on the bridge itself is alarming and is more worthy of attention than repranting. This is a major fail in security from Amtrak and very disappointing to know that most individuals are unchallenged in accessing federal property and although they are vandalizing the bridge and other parts of the span-what’s to say that an individual or group can cause damage to a trains and its passengers and crew. Amtrak and our local politicians should be on top of this. It’s 2016, there is better security and surveillance cameras in some of our local businesses thank the Hellgate Bridge
All i know is that the underpass is full of dirt and pigeon debris. At least maintain those areas!
I once rented a home near the Amtrak. It was so loud and a nuisance. The house would literally shake. I was so happy when I moved away from it.
They should really look into creating a bike and pedestrian pathway.
At least paint and repair the areas going through our streets and homes! Part of the concrete structure is chipping away in many areas.
Time for a change! TRUMP 2016!
Yeah, vote Trump! So he can holler at the bridge and it’ll change color. The man has no plan, he’s all bluster, bullshit, and schoolyard bully rolled into one Orange-faced embarrassment to this country.
Seeing as Amtrak rumbles through our community, 24 hours a day, and it’s overpasses are a haven for pigeons defecating over our heads and on to our streets, at the same time providing no service stops anywhere near us, they can curb the arrogance and provide us a sightly landmark. While I disagree with the proposed waterfront construction voted on by Community Board 1 at the behest of our local representatives and consider that a waste of money, I agree with Astoria politicians that Amtrak must paint the structure as it has become unsightly. Spokesperson Craig Schultz and the Amtrak upper management don’t have to look at it everyday, we do.
Did you miss your nap time today? You say Amtrak should curb their arrogance because the bridge rumbles through “our community”- that bridge was completed in 1916, long before the community was “yours”. It cost 55 million to paint the last time. That was in ’96. I wonder what the cost would be today so your dainty eyes arent so offended by its “unsightly” look. Grow up.
The Bridge was opened to Rail traffic and dedicated on March 9th 1917.
Nice if it were repainted, but not exactly a priority – especially if it results in higher ticket prices.
maybe Constantinidis could help chip in for the paint with the 32% raise he just voted himself
Amtrak loses enough money every year and doesn’t need to spend more on non-essential work just so a few local politicians can get their names in the news yet again.