east river

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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East River Skyline, c. 1955

East River Skyline, c. 1955

The Manhattan Skyline viewed from Roosevelt Island in 1955 looks strikingly familiar to a contemporary viewer. The art deco spires of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building spear the sky, and the cigarette-box-shaped United Nations waits impassively for the better world its construction was supposed to help usher in. But the majestic giants of the second half of the Twentieth Century are conspicuously absent. The Citigroup Center, the Bear Stearns Building, the MetLife Building, and many others have yet to replace their smaller, forgotten predecessors.

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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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Performing the Rite of Tashlikh on the Williamsburg Bridge, 1910

Performing the Rite of Tashlikh on the Williamsburg Bridge, 1910

Every year for hundreds of years on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, Jews perform the Rite of Tashlikh, casting crumbs of bread, symbolic of their sins, into a flowing body of water. Here, in 1910, a group of women and girls cast their sins off from the Williamsburg Bridge into the East River. Jews in New York City still perform Tashlikh on the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.

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Brooklyn Bridge from the Heights, 1910

Brooklyn Bridge from the Heights, 1910

This view northwest from Brooklyn Heights captures almost the entire span of the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River flowing beneath it.  The Manhattan skyline that is visible in the distance is noticeably flat.  City Hall and the Woolworth Building are out of view, southwest of the span, and other skyscrapers of the day are too far north to be seen.

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