2019 – The George Washington Bridge flag on Veterans Day

(ignore May 1, 2017 publish date. This was published on November 18, 2019.)


The world’s largest free-flying US flag adorns the George Washington Bridge on nine holidays a year:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Presidents Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Flag Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • September 11
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day

On most of those days, it’s either too hot or too cold or there’s too much going on. The one that seems to work out the best for me is Veterans Day and I’ve done that lately in 2008, 2011, 2015, 2017 and this year.

Usually, I just shoot the bridge and the flag, but since I’ve never walked around the Ross Dock Picnic Area – just north of the bridge – I decided to include that too…………especially since it has a great view of the bridge AND the Palisades.


There’s a 7-mile-long paved road under the bridge called Henry Hudson Drive that was built into the Palisades between 1912 and 1940. Heading south, you have to be careful not to run into the mighty cliffs. Heading north, be sure not to roll down them.

I shot that from the bridge sidewalk. I was on my knees trying to shoot under the new protective fencing that was installed two years ago to prevent suicides. There’s a white bird flying towards the middle of the image.


You’re not supposed to stop on this road because it’s one lane in each direction, but when you see sights like this, you kind of have to (though I did not get out, so this is a windshield shot):


The Ross Dock Picnic Area at this time of year is a great place not only to shoot the bridge, but also the fall colors of the Palisades, as shown in this not-glitch-free photo stitch (click image for initial enlargement – > when mouse over image becomes a + sign, click again for full size. You will need to scroll to see the whole thing. Click again to go down one size and hit back button to go back to the starting size):

This is an almost-360-degree shot. The same straight Hudson River is on either side.


This was taken from the northern end of the park. I’m not sure, but I think the sun-drenched buildings on the other side of the river may be Yonkers, NY:


This may be my favorite unexpected shot of the day. I took it a considerable distance from the guy, who looks quite comfortable lounging on the big rocks:


Last park shot before I head for the bridge:


Back on Henry Hudson Drive, the previous northbound windshield shot is now a southbound open-window shot:


After parking on Hudson Terrace – a real road that goes under the bridge approach, I hiked up to where the bridge sidewalk began. BTW – they’re in the process of replacing the giant cables that hold the bridge together. You can see the difference between the being-worked-on northern cables and the normal-looking southern ones – ESPECIALLY beyond the tower:


Some of the vehicles coming out of the toll booths:


You can see the new vertical fencing on the bottom right and the netting above it. This is bad news for those trying to take nice pictures of Manhattan from the southern walkway:


Is this Americana or what? A huge Walmart truck is going under the largest hanging US flag. I smell a big sale……………


The cables:


I had been dodging tons of bicycles, but as I headed back down to Hudson Terrace to my car, I had to dodge some much smaller wheels:


If you’re in the area and you’ve never walked the GWB…………..GO!


It’s a powerful experience………..with or without the flag.



  1. Jim Wright November 18, 2019

    Great photo essay.

  2. Michael Fremer November 18, 2019

    Thanks for sharing those! Beautiful….

  3. John OToole November 18, 2019

    Nice. The GWB used to figure in my dreams years ago. I have ridden my bicycle and walked the bridge in the past. Not so much these days. And I did climb a stone staircase built into the Palisades with a bicycle on my shoulder. Silly and impetuous and a decade later, unable to sleep I sat bolt upright at 3AM and said to myself, ‘WTF was I thinking?’

  4. Vanessa Briscoe Hay November 19, 2019

    I love this Bridge. I didn’t know that this park existed!
    Thank you for sharing – Now I want to go.

  5. Jeanette November 19, 2019

    Your wonderful photo essay made me appreciate the bridge for the first time, as crossing it is usually such a dispiriting experience. Thanks for sharing,

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