The Iconic Brooklyn Bridge

brooklyn bridgeThe beautiful Brooklyn Bridge in New York City is one of the most iconic bridges in the world. Completed in 1883, it is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. The Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s longest suspension bridge when it opened.

One of the most stunning sites in the city, the Brooklyn Bridge stretches 5,989 feet or 1,825 meters over the East River. It connects the boroughs of Brooklyn (on Long Island) and Manhattan. The bridge was originally known as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, but was called the Brooklyn Bridge in 1867 and was officially so named by the New York City government in 1915. In 1964, the bridge became a National Historic Landmark.

A bridge of many firsts

The Brooklyn Bridge was a 19th-century engineering marvel. Such brilliant feat made the historical bridge a bridge of many firsts. The Brooklyn Bridge was the very first suspension bridge in the world to use cable wires made of steel. It was the first bridge to connect to Long Island. In addition, the Brooklyn Bridge was the first bridge to employ explosives in a caisson, a dangerous underwater device.

The engineers

The Brooklyn Bridge’s chief engineer was John A. Roebling, who died from tetanus before the construction even began in 1869. He was replaced by his son, Washington Roebling, who saw the bridge to its completion. Not long after the construction began, Roebling suffered from a crippling disease known as caisson’s disease ("the bends", as it is popularly called today).

Although bedridden, Roebling was very determined to stay in charge. He used a telescope to keep an eye on the bridge’s progress. Roebling dictated instructions to Emily, his wife, who passed on his instructions to the workers.

The construction was delayed due to a number of problems such as unexpected blasts wrecking caissons and cables snapping from their anchorage. Despite these problems, the construction continued. In 1883, the most famous bridge in the world opened.


The Brooklyn Bridge cost around $15.5 million to build. About 27 workers died during the construction of the bridge. Approximately 150,300 people crossed the bridge on the opening day, with each person paying one cent to cross the bridge.

Around 1,800 vehicles crossed the bridge on the first day, with each vehicle paying five cents just to cross. Roebling refused to grace the opening celebration that honored his excellent achievement.

The Brooklyn Bridge today is the second busiest bridge in the city, with around 144,000 vehicles crossing the bridge daily.

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