New York City Guide

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Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge, a very popular tourist attraction, especially with keen photographers, was originally named the New York and Brooklyn Bridge. It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States, and stretches 6,016 feet (1,834 m) over the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn. On completion, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world being fifty percent longer than any previously built. It was also the first bridge suspended through the use of steel-wire cables. Thought by many to be the most influential bridge in American history, the Brooklyn Bridge remains one of New York City’s most celebrated architectural wonders. Designed by the brilliant engineer John Augustus Roebling (1806-1869) and completed by his equally ingenious son Washington Roebling (1837-1926).

The foundations for the piers were created through the use of  pneumatic caissons to excavate the East River. Air pressure was used to pump out sand as well as a clamshell dredge. During this process, the caisson was slowly sunk into the dredged area until it was securely set on the bedrock. After the caisson was settled, its cambers were filled with concrete.

The dramatic buttressed gothic towers are constructed entirely of granite. The roadway platform is hung on two-inch diameter steel suspenders strung from two pairs of cables - the catenaries - sixteen inches in diameter. Each of the four cables is capable of sustaining a live load of 12,000 tons. The opening of the bridge in 1883 was marred by the deaths of twelve pedestrians, who were trampled during a panic set off by an unknown person shouting a warning that the bridge was about to collapse.

A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on a clear day affords outstanding views of the East River and the city skyline. This can be achieved through the use of  a  pedestrian walkway and a cycle lane.

Brooklyn Bridge 1 Brooklyn Bridge 2 Brooklyn Bridge 3