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Brooklyn Bridge

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Iconic suspension bridge connecting Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn

Place Details

Infrastructure, Infrastructure

Place Matters Profile

Written for Place Matters by Prithi Kanakamedala

Dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” when it opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge, which spans the East River from City Hall Park to Brooklyn Heights, is one of the oldest bridges in the United States. The Brooklyn Bridge is a designated National Historic Landmark and New York City landmark, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The bridge continues to receive worldwide recognition both as an historic engineering milestone and for its elegant architectural design.

On January 23, 1867, five thousand New Yorkers walked across the frozen East River. According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, one man “with more lungs and vanity than the majority” ran across six times. The frozen ice restrained the ferries that usually transported commuters between the separate, vibrant cities of Brooklyn and New York (or Manhattan) and crippled business. Brooklynites had...

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Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)

Ellen M. Snyder Grenier, Brooklyn! An Illustrated History (Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1996)


Julia Hirsch

Bridge: noun/verb - A connection / to bring together

The sight of flowing water makes me feel hopeful and free. I was born near a river, and live next to another one. Now I live near the Brooklyn Bridge and walk it at least once a week in every season. At mid-span, I look out on the East and Hudson RIvers which flow out to the open sea. Other have been here before, to fish, and hunt, to explore, to settle, to set down their roots. Every day people come to take in the big view; the ferries, the yachts, the sailboats, the famous landmarks, the distant freighters and tankers, the far-off cranes, the swirl of gulls and pigeons, the vigorous flow of car traffic, the curve of the Bridges cables, the solidity of its soaring towers, its dizzying mix of curve and line, as if its very design invoked the connectivity it brings about. Two sides of the city I love, water and land, are bound to each other, and along the Bridges span, in fair weather and foul, people come from all over the world to look, to marvel, to celebrate the moment of being there, on the Brooklyn Bridge. (March 2012)

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