Manhattan is an island, separated from New York City’s other boroughs by rivers and a harbor. Brooklyn and Queens have several miles of Atlantic coastline. Bridges are necessary for easy transport around New York City, home to several impressive bridges. Here is a look at some of the larger ones that connect Brooklyn to Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.
Without a doubt the best-known bridge in New York, the Brooklyn Bridge was the first to connect Brooklyn to Manhattan. It was also the first steel-wire suspension bridge ever constructed. The cable-stayed overpass was designed by John August Roebling, and built by he, his son Washington, and daughter-in-law Emily between 1869 and 1883. The beautiful bridge spans a mile, connecting downtown Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan. Crossing the bridge on foot is a popular tourist activity. The Brooklyn side is only a 15-minute walk from NU Hotel Brooklyn. For prime views and photo ops, visit Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Often overshadowed by the neighboring Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge is a magnificent suspension bridge connecting Manhattan’s Chinatown to DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in Brooklyn. Separate pedestrian and bicycle lanes make the bridge convenient to cycle or walk across. Doing so will afford you nice views of the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty. The 6,855-foot bridge was designed by esteemed suspension bridge engineer Leon Solomon Moisseiff and built by Othniel Foster Nichols between 1901 and 1912. The Brooklyn side of the bridge is also a 15-minute walk from NU Hotel. To admire the bridge, visit Brooklyn Bridge Park and DUMBO.
Also known as Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge. Marine Parkway Bridge connects South Brooklyn to the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. The bridge was built by the Marine Parkway Authority in 1937, and at the time was the longest vertical-lift bridge in the world. Gil Hodges, for whom the bridge was renamed in 1978, was a decorated world War II veteran and successful second baseman first baseman and outfielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The scenic bridge lifts on occasion to let large ships pass through Jamaica Bay, but is otherwise nice to walk or cycle across. For good views of the Memorial Parkway Bridge, visit Floyd Bennett Field.
A relatively short six-lane bridge, the Pulaski Bridge connects Greenpoint, Brooklyn to Long Island City, Queens. The bascule bridge (drawbridge) takes just ten minutes to cross on foot, and offers stunning views of boats moored in Newtown Creek and midtown Manhattan’s iconic skyline. The bridge is named for Polish-born military officer and American Revolutionary War fighter Kazimierz Pulaski.
Also known as the 59th Street Bridge, the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge is the most-traversed bridge in New York City. Its distinct design, attributable to Henry Hombostel, Gustav Lindenthal, and Leffert L. Buck, makes the double-decker cantilever bridge recognizable to many who do not know it by name. The Queensboro Bridge connects Long Island City to Manhattan’s Upper East Side, passing over the East River and Roosevelt Island. Although not in Brooklyn, the bridge is best viewed from Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The bridge was officially renamed for long-serving New York mayor Ed Koch in 2011.
Another double-decked suspension bridge, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island to Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton neighborhood. It was built between 1959 and 1964. The Staten Island side is famous for being the start of the New York City Marathon since 1976. The bridge is named for Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazzano, credit with being the first European explorer to enter the New York Harbor and Hudson River. The two-mile long bridge is the longest in America, and is crossed by roughly 200,000 people per day. Even though it has two decks, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is only accessible to cyclists and pedestrians during the Five Borough Bike Tour and New York City Marathon. Visit Kaiser Park or Shore Road Park and Parkway for stellar views of this massive engineering feat.
The second land link between Brooklyn and Manhattan, this grand bridge connects Manhattan’s East Village to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Williamsburg Bridge was designed by Henry Hornbostel and Leffert L. Buck, and was the longest suspension bridge on earth from the time it opened in 1903 until the Bear Mountain Bridge opened just 50 miles north in 1924. Some of the best views of the Williamsburg Bridge can be had from WNYC Transmitter Park in Greenpoint.