For more than twenty years, a leaky pipe on 33rd Street beneath the Hell Gate Bridge viaduct approach submerged more than a hundred square feet of heavily-trafficked sidewalk under a festering cesspool of standing water. Astoria Scum River, as it was called, stretched the entire width of the sidewalk, and as winter approached, the river iced over and became particularly hazardous to cross.
Astoria Scum River Bridge was constructed to offer Astorians an opportunity to safely cross this hazard. The unauthorized bridge was a gift to the pedestrians of Astoria in the absence of successful municipal efforts to ameliorate the problem.
The bridge was made at zero cost entirely from recycled materials: an old work bench found on the curb, rescued screws from a disassembled desk, and a metal plate from an expired electrical component. It was installed and dedicated on December 30th, 2009.
On January 25th, 2010, Astoria Scum River Bridge was the subject of a commendation from the office of NYC Council Member Peter F. Vallone, Jr., accompanied by a pledge to work with Amtrak to re-route Astoria Scum River off the sidewalk.
Two days later, Amtrak workers began construction work. Astoria Scum River was quickly routed off the sidewalk, and within a couple months, custom-made grates were installed to complete the project. The bridge, no longer needed, was de-installed on March 20th, 2010 and returned to the curb whence it came.