There are 2,027 bridges in NYC.
              I'm trying find all of them.
                         And then cross all of them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Queensboro Bridge

Only 2,014 more to go...


The Queensboro, AKA 59th Street Bridge

Spans - The East River, East and West Channel
From Midtown Manhattan East, across Roosevelt Island, to Queensbridge, Queens


Open to traffic - March 30, 1909
No Toll
Manhattan to Roosevelt Island span length: 1,182 ft (360 m)
Roosevelt Island span length: 630 ft (192 m)
Roosevelt Island to Queens span length: 984 ft (300 m)
side span lengths: 469 and 459 ft (143 and 140 m)
total length between anchorages: 3724 ft (1135 m)
total length including approaches: 7449 ft (2270 m)

"Originally christened Blackwell’s Island Bridge, and intended to link Manhattan’s Harlem Line with the Long Island Railroad, the colossal, two-decked Queensboro Bridge is one of the greatest cantilever bridges in the history of American bridge design.
A collaboration between the famed bridge engineer Gustav Lindenthal (1850-1935) and architect Henry Hornbostel, the Queensboro’s massive, silver-painted trusses span the East River between 59th Street in Manhattan and Long Island City in Queens and offer spectacular views of midtown Manhattan, highlighted by the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the United Nations. Often referred to as the 59th Street Bridge, the Queensboro’s completion preceded that of the Manhattan Bridge by nine months."

View from 59th Street in Manhattan

The Beaux-Arts style bridge was given landmark status in 1974, one of only ten such designations in NYC.

View from Roosevelt Island


The bridge has been immortalized by numerous artists and musicians, including Simon & Garfunkel in their hit song, "The 59th Street Bridge Song/Feelin’ Groovy."
It has also served as a famous backdrop, denoting the wealth and luxury of an East Side, Sutton Place address in movies such as "The Tender Trap" where it is prominently visible through the windows of Frank Sinatra's bachelor pad.
More recently, the Green Goblin forced a showdown with Spiderman at the bridge by dangling ladylove, MaryJane from one of the supports while simultaneously threatening the passengers of the Roosevelt Island tramway.


Pedestrian and Bicycle access to the Queensboro Bridge -
"The North Outer Roadway is open for the exclusive use of bicyclists and pedestrians 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The path connects Long Island City with Midtown Manhattan. T.A. worked for nearly twenty years to see this permanent route established. Nicknamed "The People's Roadway," the path's temporary closures in the 1980s and 1990s became a potent symbol of government indifference to bicyclists and walkers. Today, the path is a heavily used bike commuter route, though the existing Manhattan approach forces cyclists exiting to the south to make a dangerous three-block detour in order to reach Second Avenue." -

Manhattan entrance: 60th Street, between Second and First Avenues
Queens entrance: Queens Plaza and Crescent Street


Map from Fiboro Bridges

Other bridge factoids -
You can walk out of the front door of Scores on the Manhattan side, straight onto the pedestrian walkway, across to LIC, Queens and into Scandals - if a walking tour of NYC strip clubs is your idea of fun.
Until 1970, an industrial sized elevator connected Roosevelt Island with the bridge. It was big enough to carry vehicles and a proposal is now on the table to revisit the idea. Due to increased security in post - 9/11 NYC, water traffic is often re-routed away from the United Nations to the East Channel of the river. The passing ships require that the Roosevelt Island drawbridge be raised, cutting the island off to vehicles.
In an article published Feb, 4 1909, the New York Times reported that 235 people had applied for permission to be the first to jump off the soon to be completed bridge. Some were professional divers, other parachutists, a few were just desperate, but in the end they were all denied.
"The Celebration Committee announces that no bridge jumping will be allowed."

Type of bridge: Cantilever (multi-span)
Construction started: July 19, 1901
Opened to traffic: March 30, 1909
Length of western main span: 1,182 feet
Length of eastern main span: 984 feet
Length of bridge between anchorages: 3,724 feet, 6 inches
Total length of bridge and approaches: 7,449 feet
Width of bridge: 100 feet
Number of decks: 2 decks
Number of traffic lanes: 9 lanes (4 upper, 5 lower)
Height of towers above mean high water: 350 feet
Clearance at center above mean high water: 130 feet
Total structural steel used on bridge: 50,000 tons
Cost of original structure: $20,000,000

Bridge facts from NYC

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