THE NEW YORK AND BROOKLYN BRIDGE, which spans the East River,
connecting the Boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, has its Manhattan terminal at the City Hall Park. To see the bridge, we should view it from the water, or walk across it, or at least go out on the New York side as far as the tower.
Only by actually going out upon the New York and Brooklyn bridge may one gain any conception of its tremendous construction. We shall find, too, a memorable prospect of river and harbor and city, east over Brooklyn, west and north over New York to the Palisades. Here we begin to realize the magnitude of the city, as we contemplate its vast expanse in the north and the mountain of masonry in the south. The ridge of high buildings on the lower end of Manhattan, as seen from the bridge in the afternoon, has much of the character of a mountain; its heights cast in shadow the district east of it just as a mountain shadows the slopes and valleys behind it long before the sun sets.
if we go out to the middle of the river span, we shall have the novel experience of looking directly down upon the water craft 135 feet below. As seen from here, even the largest steamboat takes on an appearance curiously suggestive of a toy boat.
The New York and Brooklyn bridge was begun in 1870 and opened to traffic in 1883, having consumed thirteen years in building. The third largest suspension bridge in existence, in the field of bridge engineering it is the crowning triumph of the nineteenth century, and is one of the wonders of the world.
The bridge was designed by John A. Roebling, the builder of the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge and others. While engaged in the preliminary work he met his death. He was succeeded by his son, William A. Roebling, who in turn was injured by a fire in one of the caissons and became a permanent invalid. He was removed to a residence on the heights of Brooklyn, where, with indomitable resolution, he watched the details of construction from his window by the aid of a telescope, and, assisted by his wife, directed the progress of the work to its successful completion.
The New York and Brooklyn bridge consists of a central river span from tower to tower, two land spans from towers to anchorages, and the land approach on either side. The channel span from tower to tower is 1,505 feet 6 inches—the third single span in the world. Each land span is 930 feet. The Manhattan approach is 1,562 feet 6 inches; the Brooklyn approach 971 feet. The total length of the bridge is 5,989 feet, and with the extensions, 6,537 feet. (A mile is 5,280 feet.) The towers are 278 feet high above high water, from water to roadway 119 feet, from roadway to roof coping 159 feet. The floor at the tower is 119 feet; the clear height at joined by connecting walls up to the roadway and arched above. At high water line the towers are 140 x 159 feet, at the roof course 136 x 153 feet. The New York ends of the four cables are imbedded in an anchorage 930 feet back of the tower; the other ends are fastened in the corresponding anchorage on the Brooklyn side.
... continue to next page ...