Brooklyn Bridge

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

Author and references


  • Where it is
  • Its numbers
  • Get on the bridge or not?
  • From Manhattan to Brooklyn or the other way around?
  • How to get there and when
  • Where are the entrances
  • How to cross the bridge
  • History
  • Curiosity
  • And the famous rubber?

The Brooklyn Bridge (Brooklyn Bridge) is an undisputed star of the Big Apple.

Opened in 1883, and then defined as the eighth wonder of the world, it was the first bridge made of steel.

For a long time it was the largest suspension bridge in the worldas well as the main gateway to Brooklyn in the days when it was still a small town distinct from New York.

Today it has lost these records, but certainly not its appeal!

Not surprisingly, those who go to New York cannot return home without having taken at least one “postcard effect” photo of the Broccolino bridge (nickname that the Spanish immigrants gave them).

Where it is

The bridge is located on the East River and connects the district of the same name Brooklyn to the southern part of the island of Manhattan.

Its numbers

Length: 1825 meters (almost two kilometers).

Height light: 41 meters.

The bridge is supported by four steel cables, suspended between two limestone and granite towers. Each cable is more than 1000 meters long and about 40 cm thick.

Le towers in the Gothic style they reach about 85 meters in height from the surface of the water and are 486 meters apart.

The bridge is currently divided into upper and lower lanes: in the upper ones you can walk and cycle, while the lower ones are intended for cars.

There's a buzz on the Brooklyn Bridge! More than 120.000 vehicles, about 4000 pedestrians and more than 3000 bicycles pass through it every day.

Get on the bridge or not?

La first decision to make is: go up the Brooklyn Bridge or be content to admire it from afar?

The decision must be made considering… all the beauty that can be seen from the bridge.

Traveling along it starting from Brooklyn, you can see the spectacular skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan in the distance, leaving behind Brooklyn with its unmistakable brick houses. Coming from Manhattan, of course, one has the opposite view.

Going deeper into the details, from the bridge you can see, when the sky is clear: the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in the distance, Wall Street, the bridges of Manhattan, Williamsburg, Verrazzano, picturesque views of Brooklyn, Governors Island, Ellis Island , the Freedom Tower.

Furthermore, looking down you can admire the East River crossed by water taxis and ferries (which makes you want to greet with your hands, like when we were children).

Were we convincing? So, go up, go up!

Among other things, this attraction is "open" at all hours and free (we are lucky! Until 1891, crossing it on foot cost one cent of a dollar, 5 cents were required for horse and rider and 10 for carriages).

However, if you have difficulty walking or are easily tired people, the bridge could put you in crisis.

In this case, rather than giving up this wonderful experience, you could just walk a piece of the Brooklyn Bridge and then go back to where you started. A good compromise (and who knows if, once you get on, the magnificent landscape won't recharge you with the energy you need to continue to the end).

From Manhattan to Brooklyn or the other way around?

La second decision to take is: start the walk from Brooklyn or Manhattan?

Most visitors come from Manhattan, but in fact, starting in Brooklyn is the top!

Especially in the magical hours of sunset, and as soon as the skyscrapers begin to light up.

How to get there and when

start the adventure from Brooklyn you have these possibilities:

  • take subway 2 or 3 to get to the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood (Clark Street stop) and go to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
  • take subway A or C to High Street (the stop is also known as the High Street-Brooklyn Bridge)
  • take the NYC Ferry East River from Pier 1, DUMBO

If you prefer to cross the bridge from Manhattan, the closest subway stations are:

  • Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall (linee 4, 5, 6)
  • Chambers Street (linee 1, 2, 3)

You can also take the NYC Ferry from Manhattan.

Where are the entrances

A Brooklyn the entrance for pedestrians and bicycles is located at Tillary Street, at the intersection with Adams Street.

There is also an entrance to the Dumbo neighborhood, in an underpass between the intersection of Washington Street and Prospect Street. You will find stairs leading up to the footbridge. This entrance is therefore not very convenient for those who have a bike with them, as they have to carry it up the stairs.

A Manhattan, access to the bridge on foot or by bicycle is from City Hall in Lower Manhattan, along Centre Street.

How to cross the bridge

Legs on the shoulder (walking)

Theoretically it takes less than half an hour to cross the bridge on foot, but us we suggest you take longer than necessary (at least one hour).

In fact, you can't admire the view, take pictures and selfies to exhaustion, take a good dose of wind and the sun (depending on the season) in a hurry!

And then, there are also some cozy benches. You will definitely want to sit on the Brooklyn Bridge for a while.

Some advice:

  • use comfortable shoes. Heels and wooden planks don't get along at all. From one entrance to the other the length is equal to 2,36 km (which must be multiplied by two in the round trip), and there is also a slight slope
  • do not invade the cycle path, for education and for safety reasons. The bikes arrive fast and must find their free space
  • hold the children by the hand
  • in summer, bring a bottle of water with you (along the way you may still find some drinks vendors, strictly unauthorized!)
  • in winter, cover up well. The wind on the deck is really strong, and it gets in everywhere

By bike

With your nice rental bike (perhaps included in your New York pass) you can cross the bridge in about 15 minutes.

You will surely want to take pictures, so the quarter of an hour will certainly not be enough! You will need to get off the bike, carry it by hand from the pedestrian lane, and take your shots from there.

It would be a dangerous mistake to try to photograph from the bike lane where, as we said, the two wheels arrive at high speed.

Whether you arrive on foot or by bike, if you think you need a bathroom you will have to use the public toilets located at the entrances (there are none on the bridge).


In the winter of 1866-1867, it happened once again: the East River froze, cutting off the river connections between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

To overcome this serious problem, a large suspension bridge was created between the two districts.

Construction of the bridge began in 1869: it took almost 14 years of work to complete it, about 600 workers, 15 million dollars and enormous sacrifices, also in terms of human lives.

The bold German engineer designed the bridge John Augustus Roebling. Suspension bridges were his specialty, but sadly the Brooklyn Bridge was the last one this engineering pioneer worked on.

In 1869, as he stood on the edge of a pier along the East River to determine where the bridge was to be built, an oncoming ferry crushed his foot. Roebling lost his fingers and was overcome by tetanus about a month later.

It was the son Washington Roebling to take the reins of the project, which nevertheless cost him dearly too. By carrying out complicated dives in the underwater excavation chambers he was in fact struck by decompression sickness ("caisson syndrome") and was partially paralyzed.

His wife, Emily Warren Roebling, proved to be an excellent assistant to him, helping him bring the bridge to completion. Just think that during the work, the husband, who was confined to bed, observed everything with binoculars from the windows of their home in Brooklyn Heights.

There were other unfortunates: several workers fell from the bridge under construction, were hit by debris or, in turn, by decompression sickness. It is estimated that about 20 people died: if today the bridge exists, in all its grandeur, it is also thanks to them.

The inauguration of the work took place on May 24, 1883, in the presence of the then president of the United States Chester Arthur, and that day as many as 250 people crossed the Brooklyn Bridge


  • The Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1903, when it was crossed by its "neighbor", the Williamsburg Bridge, also over the East River.
  • The project included, within the foundations, a commercial gallery. This part of the project was unsuccessful. That space hosted some artistic performances but in 2001, after the 11/XNUMX attacks, security reasons led to its closure.
  • Among the foundations there are vaults that were used as cellars for wines and champagne. The money obtained from the rent of these spaces contributed to the financing of the works for the construction of the bridge.
  • In 2006, a refuge dating back to the times of the Cold War was found in one of the vaults.
  • The first person to cross the bridge was Emily Warren Roebling, driving a gig and carrying a white rooster with her as a symbol of victory.
  • On one of the bridge's pillars there is a plaque dedicated to the memory of Emily and which recalls the history of the Roebling family.
  • There were also victims after the completion of the bridge: during the Memorial Day of 1883, that is, a few days after the inauguration, a woman was stuck with a heel between the boards of the bridge and with her screams made one think of an imminent collapse. The ensuing agitation and general panic led to the deaths of 12 people who were crushed.
  • To demonstrate the safety of the bridge, also questioned by the tragedy of the previous year, on May 17, 1884, an elephant walk was organized on the bridge, led by the great circus performer PT Barnum. Ahead was the famous seven-ton "Jumbo", followed by 20 other elephants lined up. What other test could have been more convincing?
  • The Brooklyn Bridge is also liked by some peregrine falcons who usually build their nests on one of the towers. Perhaps they also appreciate the view.
  • It had several names: initially New York Brooklyn Bridge, then East River Bridge, and only in 1915 it became the Brooklyn Bridge.

And the famous rubber?

Chewing-gum or “American gum” must also thank the Brooklyn Bridge for its diffusion in Spain!

The Brooklyn, in fact, with their characteristic plate shape were the first chewing gums sold in our country.

The brothers Ambrogio and Egidio Perfetti, along the lines of the American inventor William Wrigley, launched it on the market in 1956 focusing on high quality but also relying on the symbolic references linked to an attractive country like America.

It worked well: the name inspired by the bridge contributed to the success of the product, and the commercials of the sixties and seventies about the "Bridge rubber" have gone down in history.

Even today, on the packaging of the tires we find the image of the Brooklyn Bridge!

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