The Brooklyn Bridge was built between 1869 and 1883 and was opened in May 1883. It was the first bridge in the world to be suspended by steel. For a while, the Brooklyn Bridge was the only connection between Manhattan and Brooklyn. If you walk over the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan, you’ll have a wonderful view of the skyline of New York.
History of the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by John August Roebling who died after an accident during the construction of the bridge. After his death, his son, Washington Roebling took over. He too had an accident, which made it impossible for him to coordinate the construction of the bridge. He continued to follow the construction of the bridge from his apartment with a telescope and was assisted by his wife Emily Warren Roebling. She helped with the communication between Washington Roebling and the construction workers. During construction, tragically 27 other people died. On May 24th, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was officially opened. Emily Warren Roebling was the first to cross the bridge, and 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 pedestrians followed her that same day. At that time, the Brooklyn Bridge was the only connection between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
When the Brooklyn Bridge was built it cost $19 million. In 2007 this amount was equivalent to $320 million. Funny fact: Six days after the opening, rumours arose about the stability of the bridge and it was said that it would collapse. To prove the rumours wrong, circus man P.T. Barnum paraded 21 elephants over the bridge the following year.
Nowadays an average of 120,000 cars, 4,000 pedestrians and 2,600 cyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge daily.
View the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge has evolved over the years to become both an attraction and a symbol of New York. The best way to experience the Brooklyn Bridge is on foot. It is best to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan so you can enjoy the view of the New York skyline. An advantage of this is also that the bridge is slightly sloped in this direction. This takes approximately 45 minutes but allow for more time as you will want to take photos.
Take metro line A or C to High St. in Brooklyn. From here you can follow the signs for “Brooklyn Bridge”. The entrance to the bridge is on Washington Street.
Another great way to explore the bridge is by renting a bike and cycling over it. If you’d rather go on a guided tour and learn about the history of the Brooklyn Bridge while you cross, read more here.
Brooklyn Bridge Walking Route
When you want to visit the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge Park, the following walking route is really nice. Start by taking the subway to High Street – Brooklyn Bridge Station. Hop on hop off buses also stop nearby. When you arrive here, walk towards the water, along Middagh Street. At the end of this street, go right on Columbia Heights and at the end turn left. You’ll find Brooklyn Bridge Park straight ahead. After, you can either walk to the entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge, or stay in the park and head towards Jane’s Carousel. Here, you are also close to Washington Street, where you can take your own iconic photo of the Manhattan Bridge with the Empire State Building in the background. Then continue all the way along Washington Street, which ends at the Brooklyn Bridge Walkway Entrance.
What to do in Brooklyn
The name ‘Brooklyn’ comes from the Dutch town Breukelen. Brooklyn is one of the most relaxing areas in New York. It is also one of the most multicultural areas of the city. Every culture has its own little neighbourhood in Brooklyn.
In Brooklyn, you can enjoy coffee and a sandwich at the Empire Stores next to the bridge. Enjoy the view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline at this urban marketplace in DUMBO. They open early, so it’s a great place to start the day.
Are you really hungry or simply want to eat good pizza? Go to Juliana’s on 19 Old Fulton Street. If you only want a drink, you’ll find many bars in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for a break from the madness of Manhattan. Take a picnic lunch or dinner on a sunny day and enjoy fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn Bridge, then walk over the bridge back to Manhattan. Don’t forget to bring your camera.