Manhattan Bridge in New York
The Manhattan Bridge in New York connects Brooklyn with Manhattan and is one of the city’s attractions. A visit to this famous bridge in New York is worth it, especially if you want to walk across it. While walking on the Manhattan Bridge you have a wonderful view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the adjacent boroughs, Manhattan and Brooklyn.
History of the Manhattan Bridge
The Manhattan Bridge is undoubtedly one of the oldest bridges in New York. The Manhattan Bridge story begins with the first construction work in 1901. On December 31, 1909, it was finally opened and the first people crossed the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Officially, however, the construction work did not end until 1912, as a fire damaged the bridge only a few days after the opening. Leon Moisseiff designed the bridge, who emigrated from Latvia to the United States as a young man. The design theory used in the construction of the Manhattan Bridge was later used in the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and many other suspension bridges.
The Manhattan Bridge is the most recently built of the three famous bridges over the East River. The Brooklyn Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge had already been completed before that. The Manhattan Bridge was only to be given the less than graceful name “Bridge Number 3″ for this reason. One year after the start of construction work, however, it was decided it would be given a much better name, “Manhattan Bridge”, even though all three bridges connect Manhattan with Brooklyn.
A Little Guide
If you have difficulty telling the bridges apart because of their location, then this little mnemonic may help you: Just think of the car manufacturer BMW! With this acronym, you can deduce which of the three East River bridges comes first. The order is Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and Williamsburg Bridge. And if you do get the whole thing mixed up on the spot: Manhattan Bridge is bluish and made of steel, and Brooklyn Bridge has beige stone towers.
Although the Manhattan Bridge is already more than 100 years old, there has been a lot of work done on it in recent years. In 2001, the crosswalk for pedestrians on the south side was reopened after more than 40 years. Since 2004, there has also been a dedicated path for cyclists on the north side. Additionally, these and other renovations cost the city of New York about $800 million.
Walking across the Manhattan Bridge
When you see such a large bridge, it’s not just the massive cost that makes you marvel. My first thought when I saw the Manhattan Bridge for the first time was instant: How long is the Manhattan Bridge? As a New Yorker, now I know that the Manhattan Bridge’s length is exactly 2,089 metres! I recommend taking enough time if you want to walk across the Manhattan Bridge. It’s not a walk that you can do in just 10 minutes.
On the Manhattan Bridge, it can often be quite noisy due to a lot of traffic. At the top there are several lanes for cars, the lower part is usually reserved for the subway. The Manhattan Bridge Subway lines are the Q, N, D, and B lines, which use the bridge to cross the East River. As a pedestrian, you share the Manhattan Bridge area with the Subway, although of course the pedestrian area is separated and offers a better view. Don’t be alarmed: the bridge starts to sway slightly when a subway passes but you get used to it.
Manhattan Bridge Walk
If you want to take a Manhattan Bridge walk, my advice is to start in Brooklyn. Why should you first take the Subway to Brooklyn to walk across the Manhattan Bridge? Simple: the Manhattan Bridge walk is a lot nicer when you have the Manhattan skyline directly in view. If you walk towards Brooklyn, you have to turn around all the time. I recommend taking the subway with your MetroCard to the York Street stop and walking south on Jay Street. On your right, you will find the Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Path. You can’t miss the stairs to the stairway for the path.
Manhattan Bridge View
In case you were wondering: What can you do on the Manhattan Bridge, or what is special about this bridge? The answer is simple: the view is what makes walking across the Manhattan Bridge so special. Unlike the view from a car or the subway, as a pedestrian, you’ll have a very special panoramic view in front of you.
From the Manhattan Bridge, you have a beautiful view of the skyline of downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. This is a great photo opportunity to capture the skyline with the One World Observatory and both piers of the Brooklyn Bridge together in a single photo. On the Brooklyn side, you’ll see Empire Fulton Ferry Park and Main Street Park, among others. Another highlight is the unique view of Jane’s Carousel, which looks especially pretty from this angle. The sunset from the Manhattan Bridge is an experience all on its own, so be on the bridge in time to admire the spectacle when the sun’s rays bathe the Financial District in golden light.
Manhattan Bridge vs. Brooklyn Bridge
The Manhattan Bridge in New York is often overshadowed by its “older sister”, the Brooklyn Bridge. In fact, for the majority of visitors to New York, the Brooklyn Bridge is the first choice. But what exactly is the difference between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge? Both New York bridges span the East River within sight of each other and connect Manhattan with the borough of Brooklyn.
Similar to the Brooklyn Bridge, access to the Manhattan Bridge is free. The Manhattan Bridge is longer than the Brooklyn Bridge, but the difference is only about 256 meters. Thus, the walk is not necessarily much longer. The Brooklyn Bridge does not have rail service, which makes the walk a bit quieter. However, if you are enthusiastic about the New York Subway, then you should visit the Manhattan Bridge.
In general, you can say that the main difference is that the Brooklyn Bridge is the more famous bridge of the two. This is because the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest in the world when it was completed, so it quickly gained its iconic status among New Yorkers. Also, it is often used as a landmark of New York in movies and TV series, which further underpins the status.
Brooklyn Bridge or Manhattan Bridge – which one is better?
During your sightseeing around New York, one of Manhattan’s two bridges is a nice attraction to have on your agenda. However, which of the two famous bridges in Manhattan should you visit? First of all, there is no Manhattan bridge which is the “best”, after all, there are a large number of bridges around Manhattan.
Yes, the Brooklyn Bridge is the more famous bridge. However, it also means that you will have to walk on the narrow pedestrian walkway along with many other tourists. On top of that, the bike lane next to it narrows the area even more and you have to watch out for cyclists. Most New Yorkers, therefore, prefer to avoid the Brooklyn Bridge in high season.
From the Brooklyn Bridge, you have a view of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, along with the rest of the skyline. In this case, one landmark is missing from your panoramic picture – the Brooklyn Bridge itself. The big advantage of the Manhattan Bridge is that from there you have the skyline together with the Brooklyn Bridge in the photo. You also have a good view of the South Street Seaport and Chinatown. Besides, the Manhattan Bridge is wider, which means you have more space. Also, the volume of pedestrian traffic is much lower than that on the Brooklyn Bridge so it’s a less touristy bridge. I suggest choosing the Manhattan Bridge if you want to do as the New Yorkers do.
So you shouldn’t ask yourself “Brooklyn Bridge or Manhattan Bridge?” but consider what exactly you would like to see and whether you’d rather share the experience with countless other people. If you’re good on foot and have enough time, you can also visit both bridges, then you will have the perfect side-by-side comparison.
The Brooklyn Bridge may be better known as New York’s landmark, but the Manhattan Bridge is famous for a special constellation. You may know this scene from the movie “Once Upon a Time in America”. From Washington Street in the DUMBO neighbourhood in Brooklyn, you can see from a certain perspective how the bridge pier of the Manhattan Bridge frames the Empire State Building. The perfect photo opportunity!
If you are now wondering what the DUMBO neighbourhood has to do with the Disney elephant of the same name, I’m sorry to disappoint you. The neighbourhood owes its name to its location under the Manhattan Bridge. DUMBO is short for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” If you are planning a walk across the Manhattan Bridge, then you should also take your time for this cool neighbourhood and the Manhattan Bridge Archway with the Empire State Building.
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