Bridges

New York is home to some of the most famous bridges in the world, with nearly all of the major ones setting or breaking records. The Queensboro Bridge was the longest cantilever bridge in North America when it opened in 1909, and the George Washington Bridge was the world's longest suspension bridge when it opened in 1931. The George Washington Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge are considered among the most beautiful in the world. The H.A Dunne collection of vintage images of New York City’s bridges, includes some of the most compelling images of some of the worlds most famous bridges—including photos of the Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Manhattan, Queensboro, and George Washington bridges throughout their construction. Our collection of vintage images of NYC’s bridges is as deep and wide as the rivers they cross. What’s here is just the tip of the iceberg. To see more, or to source a particular image, call us at: 888-250-8956.

George Washington Bridge, Opening Day, October 25, 1931

George Washington Bridge, Opening Day, October 25, 1931

The George Washington Bridge was dedicated on October 24, 1931 and opened to traffic the following day, the date of this black and white photograph. Here we see Governor of New York State, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, crossing the bridge with his motorcade. The span between its two towers, the main span, is over 3500 ft., making the GWB the longest main span bridge in the world at the time of this picture.

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Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, March 1909

Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, 1909

Construction on the Manhattan Bridge began in 1901, and it opened to the public on December 31, 1909.  In this black and white photo, taken from Main Street, in Brooklyn, on March 23, 1909, we see it nearing completion. Both towers are up and the span between them is under way.  The Manhattan Bridge was the last of the bridges connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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Manhattan Bridge and East River, c. 1955

Manhattan Bridge and East River, c. 1955

Looking westward across the East River from the Brooklyn shore beneath the Manhattan Bridge in the mid-1950s, one could see the Manhattan skyline from the Lower East Side to Midtown. Today there are more highrises along Manhattan's eastern shore, but the apartment houses on the Lower East Side are still there, and the Empire State Building is still visible, although it no longer towers above it neighbors.

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Aerial Overview of the George Washington Bridge, 1957

Aerial Overview of the George Washington Bridge, 1957

The river is smooth and the traffic is minimal on this bright winter day in 1957. If it weren't for the distinctive Pallisades of the Jersey side, the low-rise buildings of Washington Heights would be indistinguishable from those of Fort Lee, across the river.

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Queensboro Bridge with Elevated Train, 1920

Queensboro Bridge with Elevated Train, 1920

Looking East from East 59th Street and Second Avenue across the Queensboro Bridge on this day in 1920, one sees an Elevated Train car, a few trucks and motor cars, and a few pedestrians.  This cantilever bridge opened in March 1909, and approximately 11 years into its existence, seems very much underutilized.  Not so, today. Today there is no time of day or night when significantly more than half a dozen vehicles will be found crossing its spans. 

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Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, 1908

Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, 1908

A barefoot boy stands on the cobblestones of South Street, in Lower Manhattan, looking northeast past the horsecarts and the ships in the harbor, toward the most astounding piece of construction he's seen in his lifetime, the Manhattan Bridge.  From the looks of things, this bridge has probably been under construction during the entirety of his lifetime, the construction having started in 1901, and not due to be complete until 1910.

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Queensboro Bridge Construction Seen from Ravenswood, late 1907

Queensboro Bridge Construction Seen from Ravenswood, late 1907

Ravenswood, Queens, started as a tony hamlet in the middle of the 19th Century, but by the time of this photograph it had been absorbed into Long Island City. In this photograph, looking west, one can see the ongoing construction of the Queensboro Bridge. It looks as if the Blackwell's Island span was complete and what remains is to connect to the spans on Manhattan and Long Island. The bridge, originally named the Blackwell's Island Bridge, would open to the public on June 12, 1909, not too long after this photo was taken.

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Aerial View of Lower Manhattan, c. 1930

Aerial View of Lower Manhattan, c. 1930

In this eastern-looking aerial photograph of Lower Manhattan and Tribeca, taken around 1930, one gets a view of many of the most notable structures of the day, including the Woolworth Building, the Municipal Building, City Hall and the Post Office, as well as the Federal Courthouse, and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Aside from the Woolworth and Municipal Buildings nothing in view could be called a skyscraper. It's is a very different Lower Manhattan Skyline than today's.

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Horace Ashton, Photographing the Construction of the Queensboro Bridge, 1907

Horace Ashton, Photographing the Construction of the Queensboro Bridge, 1907

In this black and white photograph, taken in 1907, an unknown photographer has captured the intrepid Horace Ashton, sitting on a girder above the East River, capturing the view from his own unique perspective. At this time, Ashton was probably working for the Underwood & Underwood studio.

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View from the Brooklyn Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge, 1909

View from the Brooklyn Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge, 1909

Remember the opening of Welcome Back Kotter with the shot of the sign that reads, "Brooklyn, 4th Largest City in America"? Well, what was true in the 1970s was also true in the turn of the Twentieth Century. Seen from the top of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1909, Brooklyn is clearly a thriving industrial metropolis, a worthy companion to her sister across the river. Had the five boroughs not consolidated into Greater New York in 1898 and remained independent cities, Brooklyn would today be the largest of them.

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