New York, NY 10038
Wow!…’Been crossin’ this bridge alot lately…Gee, ‘wonder why, maybe to try and get better snapshots each time?. This immense structure is a real jawdropper. Apart from having NYC’s breathtaking skyline as a backdrop, the only other thing which sets this monument apart from the rest is its structure and the significance of its construction well over 100 years ago. Built to bridge the gap between Manhattan and the city of Brooklyn (which at the time was actually the 3rd largest city in America), the task at hand was a huge undertaking. Taking blood, sweat and tears not to mention lives, this bridge was to be the longest and the first steel suspension bridge of its kind at the time.
OK, enough of the melodrama! CROSS THIS BRIDGE!….lol….sorry, but I get misty thinkin’ about it……..BUT CROSS IT!!!…really!…whether you’re a Native New Yorker or from out-of-town, Cross it!…It’s quite an experience…getting hit by the winds, stoppin’ along the way to sit on a bench, taking pics, or walking along with someone special…it’s a real beaut’….It ‘ain’t Disney World…but at least you won’t have to stand on line.
If you’re in the City Hall area (that’s just above the Financial District and somewhat below Chinatown, not that any of you out-of-towners would know that), then you’re right there. To be exact, it’s right at Park Row in Manhattan. Also nearby is the South Street Seaport District/Museum. From the Brooklyn Side you’d enter in at Adams Street…mind you there’s plenty to see in the area, there’s the Brooklyn Promenade at not too far a distance; Cadman Plaza/Park near the foot of the bridge, and if you’re hungry, then head on over to the beautiful tree lined Montague Street, ok, OK, well last time I was there I saw quite a few trees…I think they’re still there, but there’s a broad range of nice restaurants in the area. From Japanese, Indian & Mexican to Italian & All American foods.
Brooklyn Bridge History
Brooklyn Bridge History:
In the early 1830’s, the idea of a wire rope was non-existent…’that is until John August Roebling came along and presented the notion to the world. Known to be a great engineer, metaphysician, inventor, spiritualist and businessman, Roebling’s company, Roebling & Sons Company had designed and built 9 bridges before he came along and proposed the linking of Manhattan and Brooklyn with a suspension bridge for which he was pretty much laughed at. At that time, travel between the two communities was mainly done by ferry. ‘And well, the winter of 1866 – ’67 were one of the most brutal winters ever on record for the area. This wasn’t too great a situation for the ferry boats that had to make it through the ice and the wind swept waters. It was after this winter that John Roebling was commissioned to build the bridge.
He died after developing tetanus poisoning from an injury he suffered while locating the site for the Brooklyn tower of the bridge.
After his death, John Roebling’s son, Colonel Washington A. Roebling was appointed chief engineer of the project. But, his health, too, was to be greatly impacted by his involvement in the bridge. Being a bit too dedicated to this project and suffering great pressures, the Colonel had a minor accident, and ended up with the bends (the sort of thing you end up with if you go from somewhere with too high pressure to too low pressure a bit too quickly…such as deep sea diving?).
He’d taken a room on the Brooklyn side near the bridge and watched, through a telescope, the goings-on. Through his wife, he relayed his instructions to the foreman and crew.
But it’s good to say that this all wasn’t the end of him!. He was there at the bridge’s opening and continued to work with and assist in the success of Roebling’s Sons Company.
Note: Roeblings Sons Company was also responsible for NYC’s Williamsburg Bridge, Manhattan Bridge & the George Washington Bridge. These are just a few of the many other bridges they’ve been involved with.
Brooklyn Bridge Tidbits:
20 men died in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Originally, the Bridge had 5 lanes, 2 outer lanes for horse drawn carriages, the middles lanes for a cable train and the fifth lane to be an elevated promenade for pedestrians. It was in 1944 that the El trains which crossed the bridge at the time were eliminated. Today, it has 6 lanes of traffic.
One week after the date of inception, 12 pedestrians were killed and 35 injured in a panicked rush/crush. Apparently, while walking along, one women had tripped and her female companion screamed. From this, a rumor circulated around very quickly that the bridge was about to collapse, thus the panic that ensued.
In 1884, P.T. Barnum, (yes, that circus fella!), took 21 elephants across the bridge…I guess to prove a point? Well, the point was well taken. The bridge sure as heck didn’t fall and alot of minds were eased.
In 1882, Robert Emmett Odlum announced he would jump off the bridge on a $200 bet….’well, the cops were really on to him. He’d kept trying and trying till he finally did it in 1885. His body had hit the waters at the wrong angle and he died less than 1/2 an hour later….this one makes me laugh!….lol
1886, Steve Brodie claimed to have survived a dive off the bridge, and to prove it, he opened a tavern featuring an oil painting of the event and an affidavit from the barge captain who fished him out of the river…..lol…’sorry, this one really makes me laugh too!……lol
Of course there were many other attempts at jumping off this bridge in the many years that followed, but more recently:
In Early 1999, Robert Landeta, a 31yr old Brooklyn resident who had worked as a film stunt man tried to gain fame and break the Guinness Book record by climbing five bridges in four hours. This member of the Actors Screen Guild had even gotten a 14 yr old friend to tape the stunt. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it and landed 500 feet into the Brooklyn pavement on Front Street. According to police who’d seen the taped video, Landeta had died instantly.
Brooklyn Bridge Stats and Facts:
Total length: 6,016′
Width of bridge floor: 103′
Total weight of masonry: 14,680 tons
Original cost: over $15 million
144,000 on your average weekday in 1998
1,800 on opening day in 1883
Traffic Lanes: 6 plus the one centered pedestrian lane
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“Brooklyn Bridge Erected, 1870 – 1883.” DISCovering U.S. History. Gale Research, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale Group. http://www.galenet.com/servlet/HistRC/
Document Number: DJ2104241189
“The Brooklyn Bridge (1878-1899).” American Eras. 8 vols. Gale Research, 1997-1998. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale Group. http://www.galenet.com/servlet/HistRC/
Document Number: DJ2301500335
“John Augustus Roebling.” DISCovering U.S. History. Gale Research, 1997. From Clifton K. Yearley and Kerrie L. MacPherson, “John Augustus Roebling.” Great Lives from History, Frank N. Magill, ed. American Series, Vol. 4. Salem Press, 1987. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale Group. http://www.galenet.com/servlet/HistRC/
Document Number: DJ2104101078