Project #4- Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

            There are many beautiful historical landmarks in New York. Many of them are created recently or have been there from a long time. They all make our state look very beautiful and are also attraction points for tourist all around the world. Many of these landmarks include Empire State building, Brooklyn Historical Society, Governors Island etc. Whenever I heard the word Brooklyn the first thing that came in my mind was the Brooklyn Bridge. I have seen it many times and always wanted to know the history of it. Instead of visiting these areas and enjoying we should also learn about there history and have some knowledge about it. We never gave much attention to one of the beautiful landmark. I will also tell you some interesting facts and why this bridge should be on a walking tour.

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Now we are talking about late 1800’s. Suspension bridge is a type of bridge in which the deck is hung below suspension cables on vertical suspenders. The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge started on January 3, 1870 and ended on May 24, 1883. Brooklyn Bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. With a main span of 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m), it was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening until 1903. The Brooklyn Bridge is also the first steel-wire suspension bridge in the world. The Brooklyn Bridge was initially designed by German immigrant John Roebling, who had previously designed and constructed shorter suspension bridges. John Roebling however died because of a tetanus infection in his foot. The towers are built of limestone, granite, and Rosendale cement. Other than the Brooklyn historical society building, Empire State building, Governors Island etc. Brooklyn Bridge is also one of the most popular and a well-known landmark in New York. There have also been many stories of people jumping from the bridge, in 1919, Giorgio Pessi piloted what was then the world’s largest airplane, the Caproni Ca.5, under the bridge. There has also been an anniversary celebration of the ridge. It has been shown in many films also. Some American poets also use the Brooklyn Bridge in there poetry. Since this bridge is a historical landmark and its very famous as you can see it should be given the respect it needs.

On May 30, 1883, six days after the opening, an estimated 20,000 people were on the bridge when a rumor was spread that the Bridge was going to collapse which then caused a stampede, which was responsible for at least twelve people being crushed and killed. On May 17, 1884, P. T. Barnum helped to get rid of the doubts that people had about the bridge’s stability by leading a parade of 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge did not collapse or break and the rumor was proved wrong. No changes came about in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, except that more police were stationed on the pedestrian promenade. At the time it opened, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It was 50% longer than any previously built and it has become a treasured landmark. For several years the towers of the bridge were the tallest structures in the Western Hemisphere. Since the 1980s, it has been floodlit at night to highlight its architectural features. The towers are built of limestone, granite, and Rosendale cement. Their architectural style is neo-Gothic. About 20 people died during the construction of the bridge. Other workers fell off the 276-foot-high towers, were hit by falling debris or succumbed to caisson disease, better known as “the bends”.  No official figure exists for the number of men killed, but estimates range from 20 to over 30. Dozens more suffered debilitating injuries, including Roebling’s son Washington, who became bedridden with the bends after taking over as chief engineer from his father.

There have also been stories in which people have jumped off the bridge. On May 19, 1885 the first person to jump from the bridge was Robert Emmet Odlum, brother of women’s rights activist Charlotte Odlum Smith. He struck the water at an angle and died shortly thereafter from internal injuries. Steve Brodie was the most famous jumper. Cartoonist Otto Eppers jumped and survived in 1910, and was then tried and acquitted for attempted suicide. There have also been celebrations on the bridge like th 100th anniversary celebration. The centennial celebrations on May 24, 1983, saw a cavalcade of cars crossing the bridge, led by President Ronald Reagan. A flotilla of ships visited the harbor, parades were held, and in the evening the sky over the bridge was illuminated by fireworks. The Brooklyn Museum also exhibited a selection of the original drawings made for the bridge’s construction, some by the son of Roebling, Washington Roebling. As well as the 100th anniversary there was also a 125th anniversary celebration which was held for 5 days. There have also been films shooting on the bridge for various movies including Hollywood and Bollywood. On October 1, 2011 there was a mass arrest of more than 700 protesters with the Wall Street movement were arrested while attempting to march across the bridge on the roadway.

While having such a beautiful landmark in New York we should give the respect it has as one of our oldest bridge in the world and show some respect for the workers who worked so hard to make such thing. We should have more historical knowledge of the historical buildings we have so that if any random tourist asks us a question about a specific place we know what to answer them instead of being like “I don’t know”. We should also go visit these places instead of leaving them abandoned. I hope that today you gained more knowledge about the bridge and that in the future you will go visit it and enjoy the beauty our state has.

Work Cited

“Brooklyn Bridge.” A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013

“Building the Brooklyn Bridge.” 19th . N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013







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