Bridge

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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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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The Photographer on Bow Bridge, 1875

The Photographer on Bow Bridge, 1875

In this 1875 photograph, the photographer himself is the subject. He stands on Bow Bridge in Central Park above a placid lake, which reflect both him and the bridge. The leaves on the trees are sparse, indicating that this could be late fall or early spring. The image almost has an Impressionistic quality, as if the photographer were trying to mimic the work of Monet.

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Delancey and Clinton Street Traffic Jam, 1923

Delancy and Clinton Street Traffic Jam, 1923

Imagine coming off the Williamsburg Bridge into this mess at Delancey and Clinton Streets on the Lower East Side.  It's enough to send you right back to Brooklyn.  The traffic jam depicted in this 1923 Black and White photo shows a snarl up of cars, trolleys, and the Third Avenue Rail line.  Even by today's standards this is vehicular congestion of epic proportions.

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Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan Skyline at Dusk, 1956

Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan Skyline at Dusk, 1956

Sun sets over New York City, and the city begins to glow with its own light. The spires of the Lower Manhattan skyscrapers, including the Cities Services Building and the Woolworth Building, can be seen beyond the Brooklyn Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge. The skyline of today would not be extremely different. Most notable, perhaps, is the absence of lights coming from the South Street Seaport, which in 1956 was not a tourist destination, but a working fish market.

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Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, 1909

Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, 1909

The Manhattan Bridge, which connects Lower Manhattan with the Brooklyn neighborhood formerly known as Fulton Landing, was the last of the suspension bridges to span the East River, following the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges, respectively. In this photo, taken from Main Street near the Brooklyn Piers in 1909, you can see the Brooklyn Tower and the beginning of the Deck construction. In recent years, this neighborhood has been renamed DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and has become quite a trendy place to live.

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Queensboro Bridge from Second Avenue, 1914

Queensboro Bridge from Second Avenue, 1914

Pedestrians and some horse-drawn vehicles can be seen crossing the 59th Street Bridge from Second Avenue in Manhattan. The pedestrians seem to outnumber the vehicular traffic, although both are light by today's standards. The buildings to the south of the bridge are painted with a variety of advertisements, including for Coca-Cola, Wallach's Superior Laundry, Omega Oil for Sore Muscles, Puffed Rice, and Castoria.

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Workman Erecting Steel on the Queensboro Bridge, 1907

Workman Erecting Steel on the Queensboro Bridge, 1907

A workman on the Queensboro Bridge plies his trade high above the East River in 1907. The view is northwest from Blackwell's Island, which was later renamed Roosevelt Island, toward Manhattan. In the background, on Manhattan Island, are the warehouses of the American Malting Company, which was forced to reorganize in 1906 as the American Malting Corporation.

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