NYC BRIDGES


Top row (left to right):  The Brooklyn Bridge, New York Harbor, the Brooklyn Bridge at night

Middle row: three different views of the Manhattan Bridge

Bottom row:  the Queensboro or 59th Street Bridge

Manhattan (left) and Brooklyn (right) Bridges
meet near South Street, downtown New York City

"City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts!  City nested in bays!  my city!" -- Walt Whitman


Three NEW YORK CITY BRIDGES can be viewed from New York Harbor (middle photo, first row):  the elegant Brooklyn Bridge (1870-1883), the Manhattan Bridge (1909) and the Williamsburg Bridge (1896-1903) in the far distance.

According to the New York City Department of Transportation there are 2,027 bridges in New York City.  The Department of Transportation operates 790 of the 2,027 bridges.  Nineteen of DOT’s bridges are ones that connect different boroughs.  The most recognizable bridge in New York City is probably the famous Brooklyn Bridge.  The Brooklyn Bridge was the first suspension bridge and the first to be built of steel.  One of the most beautiful bridges is the Verranzo Bridge (1964) which connects Manhattan to Brooklyn and Staten Island and extends 7,200 feet; the bridge has a 4,620 foot center span (in comparison to 4,200 for the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco).  

Other well known bridges are the Manhattan Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, the Queensboro Bridge, and the George Washington Bridge.  Designed by John Augustus Roebling and built by largely German, Irish and Italian laborers, the Brooklyn Bridge (in the foreground) was completed in 1883 and was the longest suspension bridge in the world until the construction of another East River bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, in 1903.  The bridge spans the East River and connects Manhattan to Brooklyn.  Mr. Roebling died during the bridge’s 13-year construction period.  His son, Washington, took over but became ill and viewed the completion of the bridge from his apartment in Brooklyn Heights.  The bridge has inspired artists such as Walt Whitman and Hart Crane (“The Bridge”).  For an exciting read, see The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough.  

The city’s first bridge, Kings Bridge, dates back to 1693.  It had stone abutments and a timber deck and was built over Spuyten Duyvil Creek to connect Manhattan and the Bronx and was demolished in 1917.  King's Bridge also has the distinction of being the first toll bridge in America and was operated by the merchant Frederick Philipse.  The oldest-still-standing-NYC-bridge is the Highbridge (1843), which crosses the Harlem River.  There are 25 movable NYC bridges.