Sunday, June 16, 2024

How Old Is The Brooklyn Bridge

Pier 3 And Greenway Terrace

What Happened During the Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge

In November 2013, the Greenway Terrace opened on the shoreline adjacent to Pier 3. The terrace contains expansive lawns, a granite terrace, and the first sound-attenuating hill within the park. The granite terrace features salvaged granite blocks within planted areas, surrounded by trees. The granite was salvaged from reconstruction work on the Roosevelt Island Bridge and Willis Avenue Bridge. Working in partnership with NYC Parks, Brooklyn Bridge Park received surplus granite from the bridge reconstruction projects, adding to its sustainable features. Additionally, the Pier 3 hill was formed with salvaged material from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority‘s East Side Access tunneling project. The hills were also raised through the installation of foam blocks. The 20-foot-tall Hill was created to help mitigate noise from the nearby Brooklyn Queens Expressway, as well as sheltering the park from Furman Street and Brooklyn Heights.

Dahn Vo: We the People, a public art installation inspired by the Statue of Liberty, was on display on Pier 3 from May to December 2014. The sculpture was a copper replica of the statue in 250 parts fabricated over the course of four years using the original techniques and materials. Visitors to Brooklyn Bridge Park saw a replica of the draped sleeve of the statue’s arm which holds the golden torch.

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 Brooklyn Bridge was constructed, it was only possible to move between these two cities by ferry. Constructing a bridge across the East River was formidable, and numerous designs were suggested and dismissed. There were even proposals for building tunnels under the river.

  • Rail Traffic: Formerly There Were Rail Traffic And Cable Cars Running On The Bridge

The engineer who designed the bridge was John A. Roebling . He was an immigrant from Prussia . The project was then taken over by his son, Washington Roebling.

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Laying the foundations for the mighty bridge was a nightmare – to put it mildly. They had to dig through the soft mud of the river all the way down until they found a solid rock bed to support the bridge. To do this they had to sink water-tight boxes down and dig down from within them. The pressure was intense, and the heat was unbearable, while the water was fridged. Everyone had to go down underwater at a time when the complications of being underwater were not well understood.

Washingon Roebling ended up suffering painfully from the bends, and it was then left to his wife, Emily, who ultimately oversaw the construction.

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Roebling And The Brooklyn Bridge

On , 1806, John A. Roebling, civil engineer and designer of bridges, was born in Mühlhausen, Prussia. The Brooklyn Bridge, Roeblings last and greatest achievement, spans New Yorks East River to connect Manhattan with Brooklyn. When completed in 1883, the bridge, with its massive stone towers and a main span of 1,595.5 feet between them, was by far the longest suspension bridge in the world. Today, the Brooklyn Bridge is hailed as a key feature of New Yorks Citys urban landscape, standing as a monument to progress and ingenuity as well as symbolizing New Yorks ongoing cultural vitality.

Roebling quickly found additional uses for his invention. His first wire cable suspension bridge was a wooden aqueduct that carried Pennsylvanias main east-west canal above and across the Allegheny River into downtown Pittsburgh. He received additional patents in 1846 and 1847. Roeblings Delaware Aqueduct followed closely on his earlier design and is the oldest surviving suspension bridge in America. In pursuing these projects, Roebling developed a viable method of spinning the heavy wrought iron wire cables on site, as well as a simple and secure way to anchor themboth of which made the construction of long suspension bridges feasible.

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The Brooklyn Bridge Needed A Little Bribery To Get Started

In its initial conception, the Brooklyn Bridge had an honorable goal: Providing safe passage across the rough and frigid East River for Brooklyn residents who worked in Manhattan. In the 1850s, Prussian-born engineer John Augustus Roebling dreamed of a suspension bridge that would make the commute easier for these working class New Yorkers.

However, the methods employed to get the project rolling werenât quite as honorable. After Roebling was hired by the New York Bridge Company to help span the river, infamous political kingpin William âBossâ Tweed funneled $65,000 in bribes to city aldermen to secure funding for the bridge.

Lower Manhattan And Brooklyn Bridge Guided Bike Tour

Brooklyn Bridge, looking towards Manhattan, 1901
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  • New York City, New York, USA, United States

Come explore lower Manhattan on two wheels! Cycle around Manhattans southern tip, climb uphill into the City Hall area, then up onto the Brooklyn Bridge itself. This will be a steady climb of about 15 minutes, stopping at the Brooklyn-side tower of the bridge for photos. Youll be about 160 feet up.

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This Day In History: The Brooklyn Bridge Opens

The Brooklyn Bridge opened on May 24, 1883.

It’s been called the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” and on Friday the Brooklyn Bridge turns 136 years old.

The Brooklyn Bridge opened on May 24, 1883. German engineer John A. Roebling was hired to design the bridge. He was chosen because he was known for perfecting the suspension bridge by adding a web truss on either side for stabilization.

It took 14 years and $15 million to complete the bridge. When it was finally completed, it was the longest suspension bridge in history at the time.

The opening ceremonies included speeches, bands, cannon fire and fireworks. Attendees included President Chester A. Arthur, New York Governor Grover Cleveland, according to An estimated 250,000 people streamed across the bridge in the first 24 hours, marveling at its massive towers and steel cables that still draw tourists today.

The Towers And The Curse Continues

The next phase was building the towers. This would prove to be a complex process that took four years to accomplish. It started in mid-1872, and the Brooklyn side was finished first, but both sides were mostly completed by July of 1876. The anchorages could not be completely finished until the main cables were spun. All of this work, on the towers especially, was very dangerous. Even still, there were an unusually high number of accidents that resulted in the death of multiple workers. By 1876, three men had fallen from the towers to their deaths, and several other accidents had happened that resulted in the deaths of nine others.

Even as the death toll rose, another major step was about to be attempted. Temporary cable wires were stretched between the two towers to form a temporary footbridge for the workers while the cable spinning phase was going on. Then, a guinea pig was needed to test its strength, so the next step involved sending an engineer across the traveler wire in a boatswain chair slung from the wire. Of course, this became another major spectator event, drawing a crowd of at least 10,000 people on both shores. The test was performed without a hitch, to the crowds delight.

Traveler wire on the Brooklyn Bridge, circa 1872-1887, via Wikipedia

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The Bridge Was The Site Of A Stampede Soon After Opening

The Brooklyn Bridge opened to the public on May 24, 1883 and enjoyed a fairly harmonious first five days in operation. On May 30, however, disaster struck when either a woman tripping or a rumor of a pending collapse sparked a panic among the massive crowd of pedestrians crossing the bridge. The mobâs frantic race to escape the bridge resulted in the deaths of 12 people and serious injuries to 36 more.

Williamsburg Brooklyn Food Tasting And Walking Tour

NYC looks for ways to widen Brooklyn Bridge
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  • Brooklyn, New York, United States

New York City is known for being pricey, but if you know where to look, it doesnt have to be. Many of the foods that make NYC famous like pizza, bagels and classic deli fare are also some of the spots we visit on our Williamsburg tour. Come get a slice from Rosa Pizza, and find out what all the buzz is about. We also make a stop at the famous Pie & Thighs, where you can enjoy the classic Chicken & Waffles entree made fresh daily. Our tours are fun, safe, and memorable. These are only a couple of the stops we take, buy your ticket today and find out where we’ll be chowing down next!!! different tastings are included on this journey. BONUSFor a limited time we are giving away a FREE BAG with every ticket purchase.

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Washington And The Caissons

After his father died in 1869, Washington Roebling, then 32, was designated as the chief engineer. Tammany Hall, the prominently Irish immigrant-founded organization known for its political corruption, controlled the New York and Brooklyn Bridge Company and approved the designation. Construction began on January 2nd, 1870, with the caissons. Washington Roebling designed these caissons, which are the structures on which the two suspension towers were built upon.

Diagram picture of a caisson, By unknown artist/W. A. Roebling, engineer The American Cyclopædia, v. 3, 1879, p. 557 ., Public Domain, Link

The work that then needed to be done was dangerous, however. It involved pumping the space inside the caisson with compressed, pressurized air. Workers would then go into the caisson to dig the sediment below until it sank to the bedrock. At that point, the caisson would be filled with concrete. They worked in the icy water of the East River, but as one worker described it, the temperature was about 80 degrees, and despite the cold water, they were shirtless and soaked with sweat in 5 minutes.

History Of The Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge architect John Roebling was born in Mühlhausen, Prussia. Though he had humble beginnings, his mother recognized his keen intelligence and sent him to Berlin to study architecture and engineering. In 1831, with his brother Carl, Roebling moved to western Pennsylvania, founding a farming community called Saxonburg. After the agrarian colony failed, Roebling turned back to engineering.

Even by the middle of the 19th century, there were few bridges over major rivers goods were floated across on barges, and people rode ferries. In 1841, Roebling began producing wire rope strong enough to support bridge roadways, and was hired to produce a number of river crossings, the first over the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh in 1845. After a number of successful commissions, he built a large wire rope plant in Trenton, New Jersey.

In the following decade, Roebling designed a railroad bridge over the Ohio River between Cincinnati, OH, and Covington, KY, which resembles a smaller version of the Brooklyn Bridge. He first conceived of the Brooklyn span in 1852, but it took him more than 15 years to secure approvals for it, as the Civil War, among other occurrences, sapped capital and materials. Such a crossing was becoming crucial, because in that era, winters were colder, and barges and boats found the ice-choked river difficult to navigate.

The Brooklyn Bridge, looking from Manhattan toward Brooklyn.

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Brooklyn Heights Promenade Walking Map

Below you can find a map of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade along with the several entrances mentioned earlier on. In addition, I have added in other nearby highlights such as the Fruit Street Seating Area and the Squibb Park & Bridge.

All along the riverside, you will find Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is certainly worth the visit before or after walking the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

The Opening Of The Bridge


On May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was officially opened for the public. This was no ordinary bridge opening though. Remember, at the time this was the longest suspension bridge in the world.

Due to its importance, even the president if the United States, Chester A. Arthur, made an appearance at the ceremony.

Since Emily Roebling played such a large role in the bridges completion, she was awarded with the first official ride over the bridge with a rooster in her lap .

During its first 24 hours of opening, there was an estimated 250,000 people who walked across the pedestrian pathway a journey that was a first of its kind.

Today, thousands of tourists and locals make that same journey across the bridge admiring a whole new type of skyline on both sides.

The pathway lays in the center of the bridge, elevated from the car lanes down below. This gives visitors the chance to walk along the middle of the bridge, under its jaw dropping cable wires and two towers.

Learn more about a Brooklyn Bridge walk to enjoy the experience on your own

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The Man With The Plan

John Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridges creator, was a great pioneer in the design of steel suspension bridges. Born in Germany in 1806, he studied industrial engineering in Berlin and at the age of 25 immigrated to western Pennsylvania, where he attempted, unsuccessfully, to make his living as a farmer. He later moved to the state capital in Harrisburg, where he found work as a civil engineer. He promoted the use of wire cable and established a successful wire-cable factory.

Did you know? On May 17, 1884, P. T. Barnum led 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge to prove that it was stable.

Meanwhile, he earned a reputation as a designer of suspension bridges, which at the time were widely used but known to fail under strong winds or heavy loads. Roebling addressed these problems by combining structural elements from previous bridge designsincluding cable arrays and stiffening trusses. Using this model, Roebling successfully bridged the Niagara Gorge at Niagara Falls, New York, and the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 1867, on the basis of these achievements, New York legislators approved Roeblings plan for a suspension bridge over the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn. It would be the very first steel suspension bridge, boasting the longest span in the world: 1,600 feet from tower to tower.

Compartments In The Bridge Were Used For Storing Wine

If you think a nice glass of wine would be the perfect companion for a moonlit stroll across a river, this is the bridge for you. Engineers built sizeable vaults that were up to 50 feet tall into the bridge beneath its anchorages. Thanks to their cool temperatures, these granite-walled storage spaces made the perfect wine cellars, and they were rented out to the public until World War I. The company A. Smith & Co. Productions forked over $500 a month as rent for the Brooklyn-side vaults, while the liquor distributor Luyties Brothers paid a pretty $5000 for the prime real estate beneath the Manhattan anchorage.

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How To Experience The Brooklyn Bridge

So, by now you certainly have gained some more insight about the bridges history along with many interesting Brooklyn Bridge facts.

I am sure though that you want to experience the bridge for yourself during a visit to New York. Luckily, there are several different ways to go about a Brooklyn Bridge experience.

Pier 1 And Fulton Ferry Landing

New book examines 14-year construction process of the Brooklyn Bridge

Pier 1 was the first section of parkland, having opened in March 2010. It is located directly south of the Brooklyn Bridge and the EmpireFulton Ferry section of the park. The pier is Brooklyn Bridge Park’s largest and is the only one constructed on filled land rather than pilings. The area includes two landscaped lawns overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and New York Harbor, a salt marsh with native plants, a playground, a granite lookout, a waterfront walkway, and various food and drink concessions.

Fulton Ferry Landing is directly adjacent to Pier 1, on the site of Brooklyn’s first ferry landing, which opened in 1642. Reopened to the public in 1997, Fulton Ferry Landing provides views of the Manhattan skyline and houses the classical music venue Bargemusic. The landing includes an old fireboat house, which formerly housed the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory between 2001 and 2018. Since 2019, the fireboat house has been run by two concessionaires. The New York Water Taxi and NYC Ferry are also accessible from the landing. The landing contains railings upon which are engraved the Walt Whitman poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry“, as well as a deck with bronze reliefs of historic events nearby. A pavilion adjacent to the fireboat house was proposed for Fulton Ferry Landing in 2019, but was delayed due to objections by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Pierhouse and 1 Hotel

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Walk Along The Manhattan Bridge

Now, while a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must do activity, why not also head across the Manhattan Bridge.

While not as scenic of a bridge, the Manhattan Bridge walkway gives you the chance to see the Brooklyn Bridge from a distance. This viewpoint is one of my favorite in the city as you get the bridge, Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty all in view.

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