Exploring the Brooklyn Bridge: A Travel Guide to One of New York’s Most Iconic Landmarks

One of the first things you may want to do when visiting New York is to cross the famous Brooklyn Bridge, which is often seen in movies, commercials, and IKEA pictures. It is a beautiful and imposing bridge, but above all, it is usually fascinating for its symbolism in a city where there is no lack of popular icons such as the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Central Park. We had the opportunity to walk along it in March, and despite the rain, it was one of the best experiences we took away from the city. In this post, we will discuss its history, some curiosities, and practical details for visiting it.

Exploring the Brooklyn Bridge: A Travel Guide to One of New York's Most Iconic Landmarks
Image: Kind Courtesy – Associated Press

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A brief history of the Brooklyn Bridge

At the end of the 19th century, taking a ferry was the only way to cross the East River between New York and Brooklyn, which were then two independent cities. Frost, heavy rain, and many other problems meant that this route was often canceled, so engineer John Augustus Roebling proposed building a bridge linking Manhattan and Brooklyn. After several years of working on the project and seeking funding, construction began on the Brooklyn Bridge on January 3, 1870, and it was not completed until May 24, 1883.

The bridge immediately achieved worldwide fame as it was the first bridge to be suspended by steel cables. In addition, for 20 years, it was the longest suspension bridge on the planet with a length of 1,825 meters. Today, those steel cables and its two neo-Gothic towers (rising 84 meters above the water) are one of the most recognizable New York landmarks.

10 curious facts about the Brooklyn Bridge

The life of the Brooklyn Bridge is full of anecdotes and curiosities that have been shaping the myth. Here we have selected ten, but you will find many more by browsing Google.

  1. After 17 years trying to carry out his project, J. A. Roebling died 5 days after it was approved. Apparently, a ferryboat crushed his foot, and although the limb was amputated, he died soon after from tetanus.
  2. His son, Washington, then took over the project, but shortly after construction began he suffered the effects of “decompression sickness” and became bedridden. His wife, Emily, assisted him for the next 11 years in supervising the work, eventually becoming an expert.
  3. The same disease caused the deaths of at least 20 workers during the construction of the bridge. It is estimated that about 27 died in total.
  4. On the first day of opening, 1,800 vehicles and 150,000 people passed over the bridge. Emily Roebling was the first to cross.
  5. Six days after the opening, there was a sudden rumor that the bridge was going to collapse. This caused a human stampede that killed 12 people.
  6. The bridge was originally called the New York and Brooklyn Bridge. It was not until 1915 that it received its present name.
  7. On May 19, 1885, Robert Emmet Odlum became the first of many “jumpers” to be thrown from the bridge. He was rescued alive from the water, but nothing more could be done for him. Before his death, he had time to say something like “Did I make a good jump?” Robert was a lifeguard and swimming instructor.
  8. If you’re in love, don’t hang a padlock there. It’s against city regulations and will be removed shortly.
  9. The bridge was sold more than 4,000 times by George C. Parker. This famous swindler posed as its builder to sell it to unsuspecting rich people whom he convinced to exploit it with tolls. The trick worked for more than 40 years, until he was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1928.
  10. Today crossing the bridge is free, but until 1911 there was a toll of 1 cent to cross on foot, 5 on horseback, and 10 in a carriage.

Visiting the Brooklyn Bridge

After reading about its history and learning about its many interesting facts, you will likely want to walk across it. It is one of the best things to do in New York City, and it’s free, which is a bonus in this city. Walking across the bridge offers great views of the East River and the New York skyline. Walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan, which is 1.8 km and can easily be done by anyone. However, before crossing, make sure to take some time to take some good pictures from Brooklyn. There are two great areas on both sides of the bridge to do so: Brooklyn Heights Promenade to the south and Empire Fulton Ferry Park to the north in the DUMBO area. The latter area is particularly popular for taking photos.

FAQs related to Brooklyn Bridge:-

  • Where is the Brooklyn Bridge?

    The Brooklyn Bridge is located in New York City, United States. It crosses the East River and connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Specifically, it connects the neighborhoods of Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights in Brooklyn with the Lower Manhattan neighborhood of Chinatown and the civic center. The bridge’s main entrance is located near the intersection of Park Row and City Hall Park in Manhattan, and the Brooklyn entrance is located near the intersection of Tillary Street and Adams Street in Brooklyn.

  • What bridge links Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City?

    Brooklyn Bridge.

  • Why is the Brooklyn Bridge so famous?

    The Brooklyn Bridge is famous because it was the first steel-wire suspension bridge ever built, which was a major engineering achievement at the time. Secondly, it spans the East River, connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and providing a crucial link for the growing metropolis in the late 19th century. Additionally, It also has a distinctive aesthetic design and is a National Historic Landmark. Furthermore, it has also been featured in many movies, TV shows, and songs. Thus, it has become a popular tourist destination and a symbol of New York City.

  • When was the Brooklyn Bridge built?

    Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge began on January 3, 1870, and it was completed and opened to the public on May 24, 1883.

  • What year was the Brooklyn Bridge built?

    Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge started in 1869 and was completed in 1883.

  • When did the Brooklyn Bridge open?

    It was opened for the public on May 24, 1883.

  • How old is the Brooklyn Bridge?

    The Brooklyn Bridge was opened to the public on May 24, 1883. So as of January 14, 2023, it is 139 years old.

  • Who built the Brooklyn Bridge?

    The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by John Augustus Roebling, a German-American engineer, and was built by his son, Washington Roebling. Construction began in 1869, with John Roebling as chief engineer, but Roebling died in an accident before the construction began and Washington Roebling took over as chief engineer. Washington Roebling was also injured during the construction and was unable to physically oversee the work for most of the construction, but he continued to direct the work from his apartment with the help of his wife Emily Warren Roebling who acted as intermediary between him and the construction site.

  • Who designed the Brooklyn Bridge?

    John Augustus Roebling

  • Why was the Brooklyn Bridge built?

    Brooklyn Bridge was built to provide a means of transportation between the rapidly growing cities of Brooklyn and Manhattan, which were separated by the East River. The bridge was also intended to stimulate economic development and improve communication between the two cities. The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was also seen as a major engineering feat and an opportunity to showcase the latest technology and design.

  • How much did the brooklyn bridge cost?

    $15 million (more than $320 million in today’s dollars).

  • How long did it take to build the Brooklyn Bridge?

    14 years.

  • How was the Brooklyn Bridge built?

    The Brooklyn Bridge was built using a combination of caissons and cable-stays. The workers built large caissons, i.e. watertight chambers, at the bottom of the river, and then pumped out the water to create a dry space for workers who could dig into the bottom of the river and put the foundations under the towers of the bridge. The bridge cables, made of thousands of individual steel wires, were stretched between the towers to support the road.

  • What is the Brooklyn Bridge made of?

    The Brooklyn Bridge is made mostly of steel and granite.

  • What type of bridge is the Brooklyn Bridge?

    It is a suspension bridge.

  • What late-nineteenth-century development did New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge symbolize?

    The Brooklyn Bridge symbolized several key developments of the late-nineteenth century:
    1. It symbolized the technological advancements in bridge building and engineering.
    2. It symbolized the expansion and modernization of New York City.
    3. Brooklyn Bridge also symbolized the American spirit of progress and determination.

  • How many people died while building the Brooklyn Bridge?

    Approximately 20 people died during the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • In 1884, what did P.T. Barnum lead across the Brooklyn Bridge to prove that the structure was safe?

    In 1884, P.T. Barnum, the famous circus promoter, led 21 elephants across the Brooklyn Bridge to prove that the bridge was safe. The event was organized to allay public concerns about the safety of the bridge, which was recently opened to the public. The elephants walked across the bridge, showing that the bridge is strong enough to support the weight and reassuring the public.

  • In 1884, who led 21 elephants across the Brooklyn Bridge to prove it was safe?

    P.T. Barnum who was a famous circus promoter, led 21 elephants across the Brooklyn Bridge in 1884 to prove that the bridge was safe.

  • How long is the Brooklyn Bridge?

    The Brooklyn Bridge is approximately 6,016.51 ft (1,833 m) long.

  • How long is the Brooklyn Bridge in Feet?

    The Brooklyn Bridge is approximately 6,016.51 feet long.

  • How long is the Brooklyn Bridge in Meters?

    The Brooklyn Bridge is approximately 1833 meters long.

  • How long is the Brooklyn Bridge in KM?

    The Brooklyn Bridge is approximately 1.825 kilometers long.

  • How long is the Brooklyn Bridge in Miles?

    The Brooklyn Bridge is approximately 1.13 miles long.

  • How high/tall is the Brooklyn Bridge?

    The Brooklyn Bridge has a clearance of approximately 135 feet (41.1 m) under the center of the main span of the bridge which is the distance from the surface of the water to the underside of the bridge deck, but the height of the Brooklyn Bridge towers is approximately 275 feet (84 m).

  • How long does it take to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge?

    It typically takes around 30-40 minutes to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, depending on the pace of the walker and the amount of crowd on the bridge at the time. It can take longer during peak tourist season or during large events in the area.

  • How to get on Brooklyn Bridge?

    To get onto the Brooklyn Bridge, you can either access it from the Brooklyn side or the Manhattan side. On the Brooklyn side, you can access the bridge from Tillary Street and Adams Street. On the Manhattan side, you can get onto the bridge from Park Row and Centre Street.

  • How to get to Brooklyn Bridge Park?

    Brooklyn Bridge Park can be reached by taking the A/C, 2/3, 4/5, F, or R subway lines, or by taking the B25, B61, B63, B67 bus routes. Additionally, visitors can arrive via the NYC Ferry at Fulton Ferry Landing and Pier 6. For those using Access-a-Ride, the address for Pier 1 is 1 Water Street.

  • How to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge?

    To traverse the Brooklyn Bridge, you may use the Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Walkway, which begins at Tillary Street and Boerum Place, or take the staircase located in the underpass on Washington Street/Cadman Plaza East and Prospect Street.

  • Where to park to walk the Brooklyn Bridge?

    There is no official parking lot associated with the Brooklyn Bridge. Visitors typically take public transportation or ride-sharing services. However, there are some paid parking garages located near the Brooklyn Bridge. These include Atlantic Parking at Old Slip & Front Street, Icon Parking at Front Street & Adams Street, and Imperial Parking at South & Front Street. Go to the following link to find the parking: – https://www.bestparking.com/new-york-ny-parking/destinations/brooklyn-bridge-parking/

  • How do I get to Brooklyn Bridge by Metro?

    The High Street-Brooklyn Bridge Station is the closest subway station to Brooklyn Bridge on the A and C lines. You can also take the 2, 3, 4, 5, or R trains to the Borough Hall Station and walk to the bridge.

  • What bridge is next to the Brooklyn Bridge?

    The Manhattan Bridge is next to the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • The Brooklyn Bridge crosses which body of water in New York?

    The Brooklyn Bridge crosses the East River in New York.

  • What does the brooklyn bridge connect?

    The Brooklyn Bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City, spanning the East River.

  • Is it free to cross the Brooklyn Bridge?

    Yes, it is free to cross/walk the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • Is it worth walking over brooklyn bridge?

    Exploring the sights of NYC by taking a walk across this famous bridge is an experience that shouldn’t be missed! It’s absolutely free, an enjoyable activity, and you get to savor the majestic skyline and river views!

  • How long will Brooklyn Bridge last?

    The Brooklyn Bridge is a well-maintained and durable structure, but there is no definitive answer for how long it will last. The bridge is currently in excellent condition and with proper maintenance, it could last for many more years.

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