You cannot visit New York without taking a walk over the famous Brooklyn Bridge. It is an icon of New York City, opened for use on May 24, 1883 after taking 14 years (1869-1883) to construct and is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge, and is one of the oldest bridges of either type in the United States.
Completed in 1883, it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by crossing the East River..
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 Mayor Franklin Edson were present on that day. 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.
The bridge's length over the East River is 1,595 feet 6 inches (486.3 m).
The Brooklyn Bridge was built with numerous passageways and compartments in its anchorages. New York City rented out the large vaults under the bridge's Manhattan anchorage in order to fund the bridge and pay it's debt. Opened in 1876, the vaults were used to store wine, as they were always at a constant temperature of 60 °F (16 °C). This was called the "Blue Grotto" because of a shrine to the Virgin Mary next to an opening at the entrance. When New York visited one of the cellars about 102 years later, in 1978, it discovered, on the wall, a "fading inscription" reading: "Who loveth not wine, women and song, he remaineth a fool his whole life long"
Brooklyn Bridge Facts:
- The bridge originally carried horse-drawn and rail traffic, with a separate elevated walkway along the center line for pedestrians and bicycles.
- To convince the people that the bridge is safe, on May 1884 21 elephants were put to cross the bridge.
- Since 1950, the main roadway has carried six lanes of automobile traffic. Due to the roadway's height (11 ft (3.4 m) posted) and weight (6,000 lb (2,700 kg) posted) restrictions, commercial vehicles and buses are prohibited from using this bridge.
The Brooklyn Bridge has a wide pedestrian walkway open to walkers and cyclists in the center of the bridge above the automobile lanes.
- The towers are made of Maine Granite, 276 feet (84 meters) above the water and designed in a neo-gothic style.
- During the Cold War, one of the bridge’s compartments was transformed into a bomb shelter packed with food, water and medical supplies.
The Brooklyn Bridge was the longest in the world for over 20 years, until 1903 when it lost it title to the Williamsburg Bridge.
- A strange illnesses took on those who worked on the first tower in Brooklyn. The Caisson's Disease, named for the large, watertight chambers the construction workers worked in. It is now believed that the workers were getting sick because they failed to decompress after working deep underwater.
- 90,000 tons is the weight of each tower.
- If the weather is extremely cold the bridge raises about 3 inches, as the steel wires are contracting and expanding.