Q. I recently came across a mention of a bridge known in the 18th century as the Kissing Bridge, near the present Third Avenue and 77th Street. Tell me more.
A. That particular bridge was on or near the old Boston Post Road, and would have then been about four miles north of town. A requirement for a good kissing bridge, as with a lover's lane, is that it be picturesque, or off the beaten path to offer seclusion, or both.
According to the New-York Historical Society, there seem to have been at least three Kissing Bridges on the Boston Post Road in 18th-century Manhattan. The one by present-day 77th Street was also called the Sawkill Bridge, from the name of the stream it crossed. There was one around what is now East 51st Street and one at Roosevelt Street, which no longer exists, but ran southeast from Pearl Street at Park Row. (The Gov. Alfred E. Smith Houses are there now.)
The bridge at Roosevelt Street crossed the Old Kill, or Old Wreck Brook, and the 51st Street bridge crossed the De Voor's Mill Stream.
''A 1740 English visitor to New York, Archdeacon Burnaby of Leicester, kept a diary of his travels and mentioned that the Kissing Bridge was so-named because etiquette had it that a gentleman was supposed to kiss a lady in his company when upon the bridge,'' Eric Robinson, a reference assistant at the society, wrote in an e-mail message. ''Although it is somewhat unclear to me, it seems the archdeacon was referring specifically to the crossing around Roosevelt Street.''