When New York City was consolidated in 1898, all the waterway bridges were placed under the jurisdiction of the Department of Bridges.
In just over a decade, the Department designed, constructed, and opened 19 bridges throughout the City.
The four major bridges over the East River were constructed within four decades, from the start of construction on
the Brooklyn Bridge in January 1870 to completion of the Manhattan Bridge in December 1909.
The Brooklyn Bridge
Arguably 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), this elegant structure was, at the time of its completion in 1883, the
longest suspension bridge in the world.
Anchored across the lower East River by two neoGothic towers and a
delicate lacework of steel-wire cables, the soaring lines of the Brooklyn Bridge have inspired countless architects,
engineers, painters and poets to pursue their own expressions of creative excellence, among them Frank Lloyd Wright,
Hart Crane, Walt Whitman, Georgia O'Keefe, Joseph Stella, John Marin and Lewis Mumford.
Brooklyn Bridge facts
Construction Commenced - January 3, 1870
Opened to traffic - May 24, 1883
Total length - 6016 feet
Length of Main Span - 1595.5 feet
Length of each of the four cables - 3578.5 feet
The Williamsburg Bridge
Said to have been inspired by the works of the eminent French architect Alexandre Gustave Eiffel,
the landmark Williamsburg Bridge is the largest of the three suspension bridges that span the heavily-navigated East River
A gargantuan structure noted for its 35-story steel towers and ponderous stiffening trusses, the Williamsburg Bridge boldly
reaches from Delancey Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan to Marcy Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Designed by Leffert L.
Buck and architecturally embellished by Henry Hornbostel, the bridge took seven years and $30 million to construct.
Upon its completion in 1903, it became the longest suspension bridge in the world, supplanting a record held by the
Brooklyn Bridge for the previous two decades.
The first elevated train went into service on the bridge in 1905.
Reconstruction of the North Roadways began in January 2001.
Williamsburg Bridge Facts
Williamsburg Bridge Facts
Construction commenced - November 7, 1896
Open to traffic - December 19, 1903
Total Length - 7308 feet
Length of the main span - 1600 feet
Length of each of the four cables - 2985 feet