Brooklyn Bridge in New York City

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The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. With a main span of 1595.5 ft, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening until 1903, and the first steel-wire suspension bridge.

Originally referred to as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge and as the East River Bridge, it was dubbed the Brooklyn Bridge, a name from an earlier January 25, 1867 letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and formally so named by the city government in 1915. Since its opening, it has become an icon of New York City, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972.

Construction

The Brooklyn Bridge was initially designed by German immigrant John Augustus Roebling, who had previously designed and constructed shorter suspension bridges, such as Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct in Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania, Waco Suspension Bridge in Waco, Texas, and the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge in Cincinnati, Ohio.


While conducting surveys for the bridge project, Roebling sustained a crush injury to his foot when a ferry pinned it against a piling. After amputation of his crushed toes he developed a tetanus infection which left him incapacitated and soon resulted in his death, not long after he had placed his 32-year-old son Washington Roebling in charge of the project.

Washington Roebling also suffered a paralyzing injury as a result of decompression sickness shortly after the beginning of construction on January 3, 1870. This condition, first called "caisson disease" by the project physician Andrew Smith, afflicted many of the workers working within the caissons. After Roebling's debilitating condition left him unable to physically supervise the construction firsthand, his wife Emily Warren Roebling stepped in and provided the critical written link between her husband and the engineers on site. Under her husband's guidance, Emily had studied higher mathematics, the calculations of catenary curves, the strengths of materials, bridge specifications, and the intricacies of cable construction. She spent the next 11 years assisting Washington Roebling helping to supervise the bridge's construction.

When iron probes underneath the caisson found the bedrock to be even deeper than expected, Roebling halted construction due to the increased risk of decompression sickness. He later deemed the aggregate overlying the bedrock 30 feet (9 m) below it to be firm enough to support the tower base, and construction continued.

The Brooklyn Bridge was completed thirteen years later and was opened for use on May 24, 1883. The opening ceremony was attended by several thousand people and many ships were present in the East Bay for the occasion. President Chester A. Arthur and New York Mayor Franklin Edson crossed the bridge to celebratory cannon fire and were greeted by Brooklyn Mayor Seth Low when they reached the Brooklyn-side tower. Arthur shook hands with Washington Roebling at the latter's home, after the ceremony. Roebling was unable to attend the ceremony (and in fact rarely visited the site again), but held a celebratory banquet at his house on the day of the bridge opening. Further festivity included the performance of a band, gunfire from ships, and a fireworks display.

On that first day, a total of 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 people crossed what was then the only land passage between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Emily Warren Roebling was the first to cross the bridge. The bridge's main span over the East River is 1,595 feet 6 inches (. The bridge cost to build and approximately 27 people died during its construction.

One week after the opening, on May 30, 1883, a rumor that the Bridge was going to collapse caused a stampede, which crushed and killed at least twelve people. On May 17, 1884, P. T. Barnum helped to squelch doubts about the bridge's stability—while publicizing his famous circus—when one of his most famous attractions, Jumbo, led a parade of 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge.

At the time it opened, and for several years, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world—50% longer than any previously built — and it has become a treasured landmark. Since the 1980s, it has been floodlit at night to highlight its architectural features. The towers are built of limestone, granite, and Rosendale cement. Their architectural style is neo-Gothic, with characteristic pointed arches above the passageways through the stone towers. The paint scheme of the bridge is "Brooklyn Bridge Tan" and "Silver", although it has been argued that the original paint was "Rawlins Red".

At the time the bridge was built, the aerodynamics of bridge building had not been worked out. Bridges were not tested in wind tunnels until the 1950s—well after the collapse of the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Galloping Gertie) in 1940. It is therefore fortunate that the open truss structure supporting the deck is by its nature less subject to aerodynamic problems. Roebling designed a bridge and truss system that was six times as strong as he thought it needed to be. Because of this, the Brooklyn Bridge is still standing when many of the bridges built around the same time have vanished into history and been replaced. This is also in spite of the substitution of inferior quality wire in the cabling supplied by the contractor J. Lloyd Haigh—by the time it was discovered, it was too late to replace the cabling that had already been constructed. Roebling determined that the poorer wire would leave the bridge four rather than six times as strong as necessary, so it was eventually allowed to stand, with the addition of 250 cables. Diagonal cables were installed from the towers to the deck, intended to stiffen the bridge. They turned out to be unnecessary, but were kept for their distinctive beauty.

After the collapse in 2007 of the I-35W highway bridge in the city of Minneapolis, increased public attention has been brought to bear on the condition of bridges across the US, and it has been reported that the Brooklyn Bridge approach ramps received a rating of "poor" at its last inspection. According to a NYC Department of Transportation spokesman, "The poor rating it received does not mean it is unsafe. Poor means there are some components that have to be rehabilitated." A project to replace the approaches and repaint the bridge was scheduled to begin in 2009.

The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge is detailed in the 1978 book The Great Bridge by David McCullough He struck the water at an angle and died shortly thereafter from internal injuries. Steve Brodie was the most famous jumper, or self-proclaimed jumper (in 1886).

Bungee jump

On June 1993, following 13 reconnoiters inside the metal structure, and with the help of a mountain guide, Thierry Devaux performed (illegally) eight acrobatic bungee jumps above the East River close to the Brooklyn pier, in the early morning. He used an electric winch between each acrobatic figure.

1994 Brooklyn Bridge shooting

On March 1, 1994, Lebanese-born Rashid Baz opened fire on a van carrying members of the Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish Movement, striking 16-year-old student Ari Halberstam and three others traveling on the bridge. Halberstam died five days later from his wounds. Baz was apparently acting out of revenge for the Hebron massacre of 29 Muslims by Baruch Goldstein that had taken place days earlier on February 25, 1994. Baz was convicted of murder and sentenced to a 141-year prison term. After initially classifying the murder as one committed out of road rage, the Justice Department reclassified the case in 2000 as a terrorist attack. The entrance ramp to the bridge on the Manhattan side was named the Ari Halberstam Memorial Ramp in memory of the victim.

2003 plot

In 2003, truck driver Iyman Faris was sentenced to about 20 years in prison for providing material support to Al-Qaeda, after an earlier plot to destroy the bridge by cutting through its support wires with blowtorches was thwarted through information the National Security Agency uncovered through wiretapped phone conversations and interrogation of Al-Qaeda militants.

2006 bunker discovery

In 2006, a Cold War era bunker was found by city workers near the East River shoreline of Manhattan's Lower East Side. The bunker, hidden within the masonry anchorage, still contained the emergency supplies that were being stored for a potential nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.

100th anniversary celebrations

The centennary celebrations on May 24, 1983, saw a cavalcade of cars crossing the bridge, led by President Ronald Reagan. A flotilla of ships visited the harbor, parades were held, and in the evening the sky over the bridge was illuminated by Grucci Fireworks. The Brooklyn Museum exhibited a selection of the original drawings made for the bridge's construction, some by Washington Roebling himself.

125th anniversary celebrations

Beginning on May 22, 2008, festivities were held over a five-day period to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge. The events kicked off with a live performance of the Brooklyn Philharmonic in Empire–Fulton Ferry State Park, followed by special lighting of the bridge's towers and a fireworks display. Other events held during the 125th anniversary celebrations, which coincided with the Memorial Day weekend, included a film series, historical walking tours, information tents, a series of lectures and readings, a bicycle tour of Brooklyn, a miniature golf course featuring Brooklyn icons, and other musical and dance performances.

Just before the anniversary celebrations, the Telectroscope, which created a video link between New York and London, was installed on the Brooklyn side of the bridge. The installation lasted for a few weeks and permitted viewers in New York to see people looking into a matching telectroscope in front of London's Tower Bridge. A newly renovated pedestrian connection to DUMBO was also unveiled before the anniversary celebrations.

Cultural significance

Contemporaries marveled at what technology was capable of and the bridge became a symbol of the optimism of the time. John Perry Barlow wrote in the late 20th century of the "literal and genuinely religious leap of faith" embodied in the Brooklyn Bridge ... "the Brooklyn Bridge required of its builders faith in their ability to control technology."

References to "selling the Brooklyn Bridge" abound in American culture, sometimes as examples of rural gullibility but more often in connection with an idea that strains credulity. For example, "If you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you." George C. Parker and William McCloundy are two early 20th-century con-men who had (allegedly) successfully perpetrated this scam on unwitting tourists. The 1949 Bugs Bunny cartoon Bowery Bugs is a joking reference to Bugs "selling" a story of the Brooklyn Bridge to a naive tourist.

The Modernist American poet Hart Crane used the Brooklyn Bridge as a central metaphor and organizing structure for his second and most important book of poetry, The Bridge. This book takes the form of a long poem spanning eight parts, beginning with an ode ("Proem: To Brooklyn Bridge") and ending with a transfigured vision of the bridge as the unifying symbol of America ("Atlantis"). Crane briefly lived in an apartment overlooking the bridge that, he later learned, once housed Washington Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridge's builder and son of its architect, John A. Roebling.

It has been shown in films such as Once Upon A Time In America, Captive Women, The Fifth Element, Deep Impact, Godzilla, ', Gangs of New York, I Am Legend, Life After People, Cloverfield, Zombi 2, Oliver & Company, Enchanted, Step Up 3D, and Kate & Leopold.

A bronze plaque is attached to one of the bridge's anchorages, which was constructed on a piece of property occupied by a mansion, the Osgood House, at 1 Cherry Street in Manhattan. It served as the first Presidential Mansion, housing George Washington, his family, and household staff from April 23, 1789 to February 23, 1790, during the two-year period when New York City was the national capital. Its owner, Samuel Osgood, was a Massachusetts politician and lawyer, who married Maria Bowne Franklin, widow of Walter Franklin, the New York merchant who built it in 1770. Washington moved in a week before his 1789 inauguration as first President of the United States. In addition to living quarters, the Osgood House contained the President's private office and the public business office, making it the first seat of the executive branch of the federal government.

See also

  • Queensboro Bridge

Further reading

  • Cadbury, Deborah. (2004), Dreams of Iron and Steel. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Haw, Richard. (2005). The Brooklyn Bridge: A Cultural History. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
  • Haw, Richard. (2008). Art of the Brooklyn Bridge: A Visual History. New York: Routledge.
  • McCullough, David. (1972). The Great Bridge. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • Odlum, Catherine {1885}. The Life and Times of Prof Robert Emmet Odlum. Washington DC. gray & Clarkson
  • Strogatz, Steven. (2003). Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order. New York: Hyperion books. 10-; 13- (cloth) [2nd ed., Hyperion, 2004. 10-; 13- (paper)]
  • Strogartz, Steven, Daniel M. Abrams, Allan McRobie, Bruno Eckhardt, and Edward Ott. et al. (2005). "Theoretical mechanics: Crowd synchrony on the Millennium Bridge," Nature, Vol. 438, pp, 43–44.link to Nature articleMillennium Bridge opening day video illustrating "crowd synchrony" oscillations
  • Trachtenberg, Alan. (1965). Brooklyn Bridge: Fact and Symbol. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [2nd ed., 1979, (paper)]

External links



Source en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooklyn_Bridge