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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe iconic Brooklyn Bridge is a bridge in New York City in the United States. It is a combination of a cable-stayed and a suspension bridge and is one of the oldest bridges of those types in the country. The Brooklyn Bridge connects the two boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City, which are separated by the East River .
The bridge’s main span, the span between the two towers, is 1,594 feet long. The total length of the Brooklyn Bridge is 5,906 feet. At the time of construction, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world and the first steel-wire suspension bridge. The most striking features of the bridge are its two masonry towers. They both have Gothic arches and reach 276 feet high, which made them some of New York’s tallest structures at the time of construction.
The original name was ‘New York and Brooklyn Bridge’ – Brooklyn was a separate city when the bridge was constructed – or ‘East River Bridge’. Ever since the opening of the bridge, it has been a New York City icon. It now also is a designated National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service and a New York City Landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. It is regarded as one of the greatest engineering feats in the 19th century.
HistoryThe Brooklyn Bridge was designed by the German architect, John Augustus Roebling , who emigrated to the United States in the 1830s. After failing to make a living as a farmer, he started a successful wire-cable factory. As a civil engineer, he was soon making a name for himself as an authority on suspension bridges. He designed bridges in Niagara Falls and Cincinnati before deciding to draw up a plan for a bridge across the East River in New York City. He got the idea for a bridge after crossing the river by ferry and getting stuck in the ice.
His plan was approved in 1867 and construction started in 1869. It was going to be the world’s first steel suspension bridge. In addition, the bridge would also have the longest span in the world. John A. Roebling, however, would never see his drawings come to life. He got terribly injured just before the start of construction when a boat crushed his foot. He died of a tetanus infection a few weeks later. His work was taken over and finished by his son, Washington A. Roebling.
It took 14 years to build the massive bridge, a project that many people regarded as crazy at the time. Around 600 laborers worked on the bridge, until it was completed in 1883. The Brooklyn Bridge was officially opened on May 24, 1883, connecting the two cities of New York and Brooklyn for the very first time. Brooklyn wouldn't become part of New York City until later; at the time it even was one of the biggest cities in the United States. The opening ceremony, which was hosted by President Arthur and Governor Cleveland, was witnessed by a huge crowd of visitors. The first person to cross the bridge was Emily Roebling, wife of Washington Roebling. No less than 150,000 people crossed the Brooklyn Bridge that day, using an elevated pedestrian walkway that Roebling had specifically designed for pedestrians.
New York would never be the same again.
Crossing the Brooklyn BridgeOriginally, the Brooklyn Bridge was crossed by horse-drawn carriages, trains, streetcars, and pedestrians. As soon as the automobile became more present in the lives of Americans, a road was added to the bridge. The main roadway has consisted of six lanes since the 1950s. Because of height and weight restrictions there are, however, no commercial vehicles and buses allowed on the bridge.
The Brooklyn Bridge has wide pedestrian walkways, which can be used by walkers and bicyclists. It is situated in the center of the bridge and above the road. Now, more than 3,000 cyclists and 4,000 pedestrians have crossed the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan or vice versa. Pedestrians can access the Brooklyn Bridge from Tillary and Adams Streets and via a stairway on Prospect Street in Brooklyn. In Manhattan they can get to the bridge from Centre Street and a stairway at the Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall – Chambers Street subway station.
Crossing the bridge is free for cyclists and pedestrians and is one of the highlights of a visit to New York City.
Similar LandmarksThe Brooklyn Bridge is not the only bridge that connects the two boroughs nowadays. The nearby Manhattan Bridge does the same. The George Washington Bridge crosses the Hudson River , connecting Manhattan and Fort Lee in New Jersey, is the world’s busiest vehicular bridge. Another very iconic bridge in the United States is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Famous bridges around the world include the Tower Bridge in London and Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Oct 31, 2014