Brooklin Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. With a main span of 1596ft (486 m), it was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening until 1903, and the first steel-wire suspension bridge.

More information and photos - Brooklyn Bridge on Wikipedia

Brooklyn Bridge, New York
Brooklyn Bridge, view from the South Street Seaport

History

Brooklyn Bridge History

The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge started in 1869 and took 14 years to complete. John Roebling, a German immigrant who had worked for the Prussian government as a bridge and road builder, launched the idea of building a bridge across the East River after he had taken a ferry across the river that ended up stuck in the ice. He died of tetanus poisoning before construction of the bridge even began. His son, Washington Roebling, supervised construction of the bridge, which lasted 14 years and managed to survive budget overruns and the deaths of 20 workers.

There was one final tragedy to come in June 1883, when the bridge opened to pedestrian traffic. Someone in the crowd shouted, perhaps as a joke, that the bridge was collapsing into the river, setting off a mad rush in which 12 people were trampled to death.

Even after the inauguration, many New Yorkers were not convinced the bridge was safe. So as to prove the doubters wrong, P.T. Barnum led a caravan of circus animals - including a herd of 21 elephants - across the bridge in 1884.

Guide

On the weekends when the weather is nice, the walkway can get pretty congested. It's most magical, and quietest, early in the morning. This is also the perfect time to take photos of the Manhattan skyline, having the sun behind you.

On Manhattan side, enter the walkway from Park Row, just across from City Hall Park. To get there, take the 4, 5, or 6 train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall.

However, it is far more impressive to enter on the Brooklyn side and enjoy the Manhattan skyline views on your way. To do this, take an A or C train to High Street, one stop into Brooklyn. From there, walk through the little park to Cadman Plaza East and head downslope (left) to the stairwell that will take you up to the walkway.

Itís a 20- to 40-minute stroll over the bridge to Manhattan, depending on your pace, the crowd, and the number of stops you make to take pictures or just enjoy the view. Just take care to stay on the side marked for pedestrians because one half is designated for cyclists. Also, there are benches along the way.

Manhattan Skyline View

Manhattan Skyline View from Brooklyn Bridge

Looking south from the pedestrian walkway, the view includes the skyscrapers of the lower Manhattan with the Statue of Liberty in the backgorund. Looking on the other side, Empire State Building dominates the skyline.

Towers

Brooklyn Bridge Tower

The most noticeable feature of the Brooklyn Bridge are the two masonry towers to which the many cables are attached. The towers with large gothic arches are 276 ft tall (84 meter), at the time making them some of the tallest landmarks in New York. Roebling claimed that the monumental towers would make the bridge a historic monument. He was proven right when the bridge officially became a national monument in 1964.

Pedestrian Walkway

Pedestrian Walkway, Brooklyn Bridge

The pedestrian walkway, that begins just east of City Hall, affords a wonderful view of the bridge's towers as well as lower Manhattan's skyline. The walkway is elevated above the traffic making it relatively peaceful. The views alone attract millions of visitors to this bridge each year.