Night view of the Brooklyn Bridge in November 1982
Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City began on this day in 1870. Thirteen years later the bridge was completed and opened to the public on May 2, 1883. During opening day, 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 people crossed the bridge, which at that time was the only land passage from Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Bridge Schematic from 1867
Interesting facts about the bridge:
* The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by John Roebling, a German-born engineer.
* It was the first steel-wire suspension bridge ever built and the longest suspension bridge in the world from 1883 until 1903.
* The bridge cost $15.5 million to build and twenty-seven people lost their lives during its construction.
* The bridge’s longest span is 1,595 feet 6 inches and total length is 5,989 feet. It is 85 feet wide and toll-free both ways.
* The bridge carried elevated trains until 1944 and street cars until 1950. The bridge was then rebuilt to carry six lanes of automobile traffic.
Pedestrian Crossing in 1898
* There is a pedestrian walkway in the center of the bridge above the the traffic lanes for walkers and cyclists. According to Wikipedia, more than 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge each day.
* On January 29, 1964, the bridge was designated a U.S. National Historical Landmark and in 1966 was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
* The architectural style of the bridge is Neo-Gothic and since the 1980s, it has been floodlit at night to highlight its architectural features.
* According to the New York City Bridge Traffic Volumes for 2008, the average daily traffic count is 123,781.
* The bridge has appeared in many films such as: The Fifth Element, Deep Impact, Gangs of New York, I Am Legend, Enchanted, Oliver & Company, The Dark Knight Rises and Kate & Leopold.
This is a Thomas Edison film of the bridge entitled “New Brooklyn to New York via Brooklyn Bridge, no. 2, September 22, 1899″:
Video courtesy of Edison Manufacturing Company/Library of Congress/Tehrkot Media
The Brooklyn Bridge is a beautiful landmark and architectural masterpiece. It is especially lovely at night!