Striking bridges in Brooklyn
1) Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge, with its recognizable Gothic arches and limestone, granite towers must be one of the most brilliant structures in New York City and is an engineering marvel. It spans the East River, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn, and is 1.8 kilometers long. The bridge opened in 1883 and was, at that time, the longest suspension bridge in the world. You can cross it by car or bicycle, but the most rewarding option is walking. Go at sunset from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and experience the most stunning views of New York. Climb the stairs at the underpass on Cadman Plaza East (between Sands Street and Prospect Street) in Dumbo to reach the pedestrian lane. The long-awaited separate bike lane opened only in September 2021.
2) Manhattan Bridge
The last of the three suspension bridges built across the lower East River is the Manhattan Bridge. It opened in 1909 and connects Chinatown in Manhattan with Downtown Brooklyn. Pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles can cross the steel structure, but it is also one of the few bridges to carry trains. Situated between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge, a walk across the Manhattan Bridge gives an excellent view of all three bridges. Immortalized on Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America’s movie poster, the bridge seen from the intersection of Water Street and Washington Street in Dumbo, has become one of the most instagrammable spots in NYC. The pedestrian entrance is on the corner of Sands Street and Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
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3) Pulaski Bridge
If you are a runner, it is a good to know that once you have crossed the Pulaski Bridge you have passed the halfway point of the New York City Marathon. This red bascule bridge connects Greenpoint in Brooklyn to Long Island City in Queens over Newtown Creek. The name of the bridge, which opened in 1954, refers to Polish military commander and American Revolutionary War fighter Casimir Pułaski and honors the large Polish American population of Greenpoint. Walk or cycle over the bridge to enjoy views of the industrial areas surrounding Newtown Creek as well as the beautiful skyline of Manhattan.
4) Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge
The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, NYC’s tallest bridge, spans The Narrows from Brooklyn to Staten Island. It took five years to build and opened in 1964. Unfortunately, this magnificent bridge is only open to bikers, walkers, and cyclists on special occasions like the New York City Marathon. But, because of the bridge’s tremendous height (211 meters), you can see it from almost any point near Brooklyn’s southern end. The best views of the bridge (with sunset) can be had from the promenade in Bay Ridge’s Shore Road Park. Fun fact: it was only in 2018 that Governor Cuomo signed legislation adding a second letter ‘z’ to the bridge’s name, which had been misspelled for over 50 years.
5) Williamsburg Bridge
The Williamsburg Bridge, a suspension bridge that connects the Lower East Side of Manhattan to Brooklyn’s South Williamsburg, opened in 1903 to pedestrians, bicycles, and horse-drawn carriages. It was the second bridge, after the Brooklyn Bridge, to be built over the East River. The chief engineer Leffert Buck, was said to be inspired by the Eiffel Tower in his design of the bridge, which is apparent in its towers. These days you can walk, cycle, drive or take the subway. Pedestrians, who should enter at Berry Street between South 5th Street and South 6th Street have their own walkway but need to stick to their lane.
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