Many bridges have pedestrian walkways on their margins, but the newly opened Hudson River Skywalk boasts a special function: connecting not only the east and west sides of the Hudson River for pedestrian, but also the inspirational estates of the two leading painters of the Hudson River School, two of the most important pre-20th-century American artists: Thomas Cole (west side) and Frederic Church (east side).
A Grand Opening celebration for the Hudson River Skywalk is slated for Saturday, June 1. Described as “a new historic and scenic walkway at the place where American landscape painting began,” the restored passage beside the Rip Van Winkle Bridge connects the Thomas Cole Historic Site to Frederic Church’s Olana, and offers extensive views of both the valley and the Catskills along the way: the views that both of these titans of American art and countless other oft-exhibited artists have painted as well.
Stretching about one mile, the Skywalk was built by the New York State Bridge Authority in phases over the last few years. The plan was backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of his tourism initiative, with costs totaling more than $14 million. The new walkway includes three spacious scenic viewpoints, each 50 feet long and 10 feet wide.
The community is invited to assemble at the Thomas Cole Historic Site at 10:45 a.m. or Frederic Church’s Olana at 10:30 a.m. to receive free Hudson River Skywalk gifts and participate in the Parade of Paintings to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge to kick off the Grand Opening ceremony, which begins with a ribbon-cutting at noon at the park next to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge toll plaza in Catskill. A party with food and music continues at the toll plaza from 12:30 to 3 p.m.
Skywalk Grand Opening
Saturday, June 1, 12-3 p.m.
Rip Van Winkle Bridge Toll Plaza
Rte. 23, Catskill