The construction of the bridge was part of a modern wonder, and there are many ways for visitors to see this bridge from near and far.
New York City is full of iconic landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, the Empire State Building, Times Square and many more. All of these are often featured on postcards and photos of New York City. Another New York landmark is the Brooklyn Bridge. The incredible history and history of this bridge may not be well appreciated just by seeing it (it truly is an engineering marvel of the 1800s). This should be part of anyone’s itinerary in New York City when visiting the Big Apple.
When it was built there were no automobiles – it really is an old bridge (but there are some pictures of its construction)! The Brooklyn Bridge was originally intended to carry the non-motor traffic of horse-drawn carriages and the like. After its construction, it almost immediately became a New York icon and attraction. Find out here why you should visit the Statue of Liberty and why to book in advance.
A story on the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed and suspension bridge (the Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge). It spans the East River connecting the New York neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
- Dated: Opened May 24, 1883
- Length: Main span 1,595.5 feet or 486.3 meters
At the time of its construction, the Brooklyn Bridge broke several engineering records. It was the first bridge to cross the East River and it was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time.
To keep it safe and able to withstand the heavy traffic that constantly crosses the bridge, it has been refurbished several times to counter the gradual deterioration that accompanies use and age. It even took six years to give the bridge a fresh coat of paint.
- Ring: Unlike many other bridges in the area, it is free of charge
- Traffic type: Only passenger vehicles and pedestrian / bicycle traffic are allowed
- Status: It is listed as a National Historic Landmark and a National Historic Civil Engineering Monument
The bridge has two suspension towers that are 278 feet drop with a 140 foot footprint at the high water mark. They are called the Manhattan Tower and the Brooklyn Tower.
Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge
At the time of the proposal to connect Brooklyn and New York with the bridge, they were separate cities. Until the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, it was only possible to travel between these two cities by ferry. Building a bridge over the East River was great, and many projects were suggested and rejected. There were even proposals for the construction of tunnels under the river.
- Rail traffic: There used to be rail traffic and cable cars on the bridge
The engineer who designed the bridge was John A. Roebling (although he died of a freak accident in 1869 just before construction of the bridge began). He was an immigrant from Prussia (Prussia would form the German Empire). The project was then taken over by his son, Washington Roebling.
Laying the foundation for the mighty bridge was a nightmare – to say the least. They had to dig in the soft mud of the river until they found a solid bed of rock to support the bridge. To do this, they had to pour waterproof boxes and dig inside. The pressure was intense, and the heat was unbearable, while the water was chilled. Everyone must have gone underwater at a time when the complications of being underwater were not well understood.
Washingon Roebling ended up suffering painfully from the turns, and this was then left to his wife, Emily, who ultimately oversaw the construction.
Visit the Brooklyn Bridge
Today, anyone visiting the city should enjoy a leisurely stroll on the elevated pedestrian walkway over the bridge.
- Manhattan side access: At Park Row and Center Street
- Brooklyn side access: At Cadman Plaza East
See the Brooklyn Bridge
While everyone should absolutely cross the bridge on foot or by bike, maybe to get the best view of the bridge, you can’t be on it. To take advantage of the entire bridge, you will need to be nearby. Some places with great views are:
- Platform 1: Or the main street at Brookly Bridge Park
- Brooklyn Heights Walk: Also has excellent views
- Platform 15: In Manhattan, one can have great views here. Pier 15 is down by the port district
Whether you’re a fan of engineering marvels or not, the Brooklyn Bridge is a central part of New York history and more than just a bridge. For those interested in more of New York City’s secrets and mysteries, see here to find out if there are any tunnels under New York City.
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