Of the city’s many suspension bridges, we compare the veteran and baby of the bunch
New York City is full of suspension bridges. There’s the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan, Williamsburg, George Washington, Triborough, Verrazano-Narrows, Whitestone Bridge, and the Throgs Neck but which one was built first? And which one is the newest of the bunch?
This may or may not surprise you but New York City’s oldest suspension Bridge is also its most popular. The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by German engineer and famed suspension bridge designer of the time John Augustus Roebling to connect Brooklyn with lower Manhattan. After 24 years of construction, the bridge opened in 1883 and for a while, it was the longest suspension bridge of its time. Today, the approximately 1.1 mile long bridge is one of New York City’s most visited and recognized landmarks. So much so, that the Department of Transportation is even considering expanding the bridge’s pedestrian paths to alleviate congestion from all those visitors.
The youngin’ of the group would be the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, simply referred to as the Verrazano Bridge or the Verrazano by many New Yorkers. It was designed by Swiss-American engineer Othmar Ammann, and was the last major city project to be overseen by iconic master city planner Robert Moses. The double-decked bridge connects Brooklyn to Staten Island and spans about four-fifths of a mile long. Opening in two phases, the upper level first debuted in 1964 with the lower level opening five years later in 1969. It’s named after Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, though his name is incorrectly spelled on the bridge, causing upset to this day with people calling upon the MTA to fix the error (which they have no plans on doing, of course). Though there aren’t any pedestrian pathways on the Verrazano Bridge, the site is occasionally opened up to pedestrians during big events like the annual New York City Marathon.
The two bridges vary greatly in style, with the Brooklyn Bridge providing a more exciting style and structure. The Brooklyn Bridge’s stone anchorages are complete with Gothic-style archways while the pedestrian pathway is comprised of planked floors. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge has towering stone anchorages as well but much simpler-designed archways, though it’s 262 LED lights really make it sparkle in the night.