Last week I posted some photos of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge so I figured this week, why not hop over to the East Coast? Every time I visit New York City, I try to cross at least one new thing off of my tourist checklist. A couple years ago, I found time in my hectic schedule to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge—and I’m so glad I did. Linking the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, this beautiful and iconic structure is as “New York” as the Empire State Building or Statue of Liberty to me and there’s no better way of appreciating it than on foot.
Here are some fun facts about the Brooklyn Bridge:
- It officially opened to the public on May 24, 1883.
- When it opened, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.
- For several years after its construction, the Brooklyn Bridge was the tallest structure in the Western hemisphere.
- On May 30, 1883, a rumor that the bridge was collapsing spread through the crowds on it, causing a stampede. At least 12 people were killed in the ensuing panic.
- Nearly a year later, famous circus showman P. T. Barnum helped debunk doubts about the bridge’s stability when he and “Jumbo” led a parade of 21 elephants across it.
- Each of the bridge’s four supporting cables is 3,578 ½ feet long and 15 ½ inches thick, and contains 21,000 wires that, combined, would have a total length of 14,060 miles.
- The original toll for crossing the bridge was one penny.
- It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
- It currently has six lanes for motor vehicles, with a separate walkway along the centerline for pedestrians and bicycles.
- President Chester A. Arthur and New York Mayor Franklin Edson crossed the bridge to celebratory cannon fire and were greeted by Brooklyn Mayor Seth Low when they reached the Brooklyn-side tower.
To access the Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Walk from Manhattan, take either the 4, 5, 6, J or Z train to the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall stop. From City Hall, cross Park Row to begin the walk across the Bridge. Plan on an hour in each direction, wear comfortable shoes and pay attention to all other traffic (including bicycles, which have their own lanes.) And don’t forget your camera!
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