The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a new refurbishment of the Brooklyn Bridge's suspension towers and approach ramps in July 2018, with work set to begin in mid-2019. The $15 million project will replace or repair metal components of the bridge's structure that are deteriorating due to age and use.
Construction on the Brooklyn Bridge began on May 24, 1866, and was completed three years later on January 1, 1869. The main span was then opened to traffic.
The New York Times described the opening of the bridge as "one of the most imposing spectacles ever witnessed in this country," adding that it was "surpassed in size but not in beauty" by its predecessor, the Madison Avenue Bridge (built 1852). The paper went on to say that the new bridge was "the finest piece of engineering in the world."
In 1927, after more than 100 years of use, the Williamsburg Bridge was replaced by the Bayonne Bridge, which carries traffic across the Arthur Kill between Staten Island and New Jersey. The Brooklyn Bridge remained open during construction. After the new bridge was completed in 1931, drivers were directed to use the old bridge until it was demolished later that year.
On May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was inaugurated. The bridge was designed by German engineer John A. Roebling. He was picked because he is credited with refining the suspension bridge by including a web truss on either side for stability. The Brooklyn Bridge is the first major suspension bridge built with steel cables instead of wood. It is 733 feet long and its main span is 150 feet wide. The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge was an important event at the time because it provided New York City with a new link in its transportation system. Before this bridge was built, there were only two other bridges over the East River: the Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges. They are not considered part of the same system because they do not connect to one another or to the rest of the city's network.
The Brooklyn Bridge was so named because it connects Brooklyn with the rest of New York City. At the time it was built, Brooklyn was still a separate town from New York. However, this distinction was about to be removed when the Brooklyn Bridge was connected to the Manhattan Bridge further upriver via an underground tunnel. This connection allowed traffic to flow easily between the two bridges without having to go through downtown Brooklyn or Manhattan.
The Brooklyn Bridge was widely regarded as the world's greatest bridge until the Forth Bridge in Scotland was completed in 1890.
Following the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges, the Manhattan Bridge was the final of three suspension bridges erected across the lower East River. The Manhattan Bridge was originally to be known as "Bridge No. 3" since it was the third bridge to be completed. This name persisted even after another suspension bridge was built in 1931.
The Brooklyn Bridge is a suspension/cable-stay hybrid bridge that links Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City. It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States (built in 1883), as well as the world's first steel-wire suspension bridge. John Augustus Roebling designed the Brooklyn Bridge. His son, Washington Roebling, completed and signed it over his deathbed in 1937.
Other old suspension bridges include the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and its sister structure, the Leonard Street Bridge, both built in 1933. The longest cable-stayed bridge in the world is also in China: the Dali Bridge opened in 2016.
The Brooklyn Bridge was once believed to be the first true suspension bridge, but this distinction now goes to another Roebling creation, the Niagara Falls Bridge Terminal Building, which was built several years before the Brooklyn Bridge. The two structures have similar designs involving large arches over the ends of the bridge connecting two towers, though the Brooklyn Bridge has thinner piers between the arches than does the NFBTB building.
In addition to being a great piece of engineering, the Brooklyn Bridge is also famous for being the setting of many a crime drama. The most famous example is probably the 1955 film version of Richard Wagner's opera "Der Ring des Nibelungen", which used footage from across the East River in Midtown Manhattan to recreate much of the story behind the ring of Norse gods depicted in the opera.