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10 Things You May Not Know About the Brooklyn Bridge

10 Things You May Not Know About the Brooklyn Bridge


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1. Boss Tweed helped get the project started.
William M. “Boss” Tweed, the infamously corrupt head of New York City’s Tammany Hall political machine, latched on to the Brooklyn Bridge project from the very beginning. According to sworn testimony he gave later, he facilitated up to $65,000 in bribes to New York’s aldermen in order to win their backing for a $1.5 million bond issue. He then became a major holder of bridge stock and joined a committee charged with managing the project’s finances. Tweed allegedly hoped to skim money from the city’s bridge contracts, much as he had done with other large public works. But he was arrested in 1871 before he could fully realize his plan. It has since been estimated that Tweed and his cronies stole at least $45 million, and perhaps as much as $200 million, from the public coffers during their time in power.











2. At least 20 people died during the bridge’s construction.
The first fatality came in 1869 before construction had even begun. German-born John A. Roebling, who designed the bridge, was taking compass readings one afternoon when his foot was crushed between some pilings and a boat. His toes were amputated, and a few weeks later he died of tetanus. Other workers fell off the 276-foot-high towers, were hit by falling debris or succumbed to caisson disease, better known as “the bends. “No official figure exists for the number of men killed, but estimates range from 20 to over 30. Dozens more suffered debilitating injuries, including Roebling’s son Washington, who became bedridden with the bends after taking over as chief engineer from his father.

READ MORE: Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge Took 14 Years—And Multiple Lives

3. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world—by far.
A few high-profile collapses in the first half of the 19th century prevented suspension bridges from immediately catching on. Undeterred, Roebling figured out how to stabilize them, largely by adding a web truss to either side of the roadway platform. He built four suspension bridges in the 1850s and 1860s, including one over the Ohio River and another near Niagara Falls. All would later be dwarfed by the Brooklyn Bridge, which, with a main span of just over 1,595 feet, was by far the longest suspension bridge in the world. It remained that way until 1903, when the nearby Williamsburg Bridge overtook it by 4.5 feet.

4. The bridge opened with a massive celebration.
Huge crowds gathered on May 24, 1883, to watch the bridge’s opening ceremony, which The New York Times described, in reference to Brooklyn, as “the greatest gala day in the history of that moral suburb.” President Chester A. Arthur, New York Governor (and future president) Grover Cleveland and various local politicians marched onto the bridge, accompanied by a military band and an attachment of troops. Celebratory cannon fire rang out when they reached the Manhattan-side tower. The festivities also included an hour-long fireworks display, receptions and a number of speeches. Just before midnight the bridge opened to the public, and more than 150,000 people streamed across over the next 24 hours. Not everyone was happy, however. Many Irish boycotted the ceremony because it coincided with the birthday of British monarch Queen Victoria.

5. A tragedy occurred almost immediately.
A week after the opening, on Memorial Day, an estimated 20,000 people were on the bridge when a panic started, allegedly over a rumor that it was about to collapse. Twelve people were crushed to death on a narrow stairway, and others emerged bloodied and in some cases without clothes. One eyewitness described men and women “with their limbs contorted and their faces purpling in their agonized efforts to breathe.” No changes came about in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, except that more police were stationed on the pedestrian promenade.

READ MORE: Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge Took 14 Years—And Multiple Lives

6. The bridge toll was higher then than it is now.
When the Brooklyn Bridge first opened, it cost a penny to cross by foot, 5 cents for a horse and rider and 10 cents for a horse and wagon. Farm animals were allowed at a price of 5 cents per cow and 2 cents per sheep or hog. Under pressure from civic groups and commuters, the pedestrian toll was repealed in 1891. The roadway tolls were then rescinded in 1911 with the support of New York Mayor William J. Gaynor, who declared, “I see no more reason for toll gates on the bridges than for toll gates on Fifth Avenue or Broadway.” The Brooklyn Bridge and three other bridges that likewise cross the East River have stayed free ever since for both walkers and drivers, even as New York’s other major bridges and tunnels have gotten steadily more expensive.

7. At the time, the bridge connected two different cities.
Brooklyn did not become part of New York City until 1898, following a referendum that passed there by just 277 votes (out of more than 129,000 cast). Prior to the merger, it was the fourth most populous city in the country—behind only New York, Chicago and Philadelphia—with loads of manufacturing jobs, many churches, relatively low crime and good schools.

8. The bridge quickly became a cultural sensation.
The Brooklyn Bridge has arguably inspired more art than any other manmade structure in the United States. Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol and dozens of other well-known painters have incorporated it into their works, as have photographers (Walker Evans); documentarians (Ken Burns); playwrights (Arthur Miller); novelists (Henry Miller); newspaper columnists (Jimmy Breslin); urban historians (Lewis Mumford); poets (Jack Kerouac); and musicians (Wyclef Jean). It likewise has had a slew of TV shows and movie cameos, including “The Docks of New York,” “It Happened in Brooklyn,” “Moonstruck,” “Godzilla” and “Spider-Man.” Meanwhile, advertisers have used the bridge to sell everything from Vaseline to Absolut Vodka, and it is even the symbol of an Italian chewing gum.

9. The bridge has always attracted daredevils and showmen.
Circus entertainer P.T. Barnum took 21 elephants over the bridge in May 1884 to show that it was safe. The following year, Robert E. Odlum, a swimming instructor from Washington, D.C., became the first to leap into the East River below. He died, but a number of later jumpers survived, including one man allegedly trying to impress his girlfriend and another who wore large canvas wings. Other stuntmen have flown planes under the bridge and bungee jumped from or climbed its towers.

10. Peregrine falcons nest atop it.
Peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on record, capable of reaching speeds over 200 miles per hour. They disappeared from the eastern United States due to DDT poisoning, but made a comeback after the pesticide was banned in 1972. Surprisingly, the birds soon began thriving in New York City, where they nest on bridges, church steeples and skyscrapers. Today, about 16 pairs of peregrines live in the Big Apple, and the Brooklyn Bridge has become one of their regular nesting sites.


10 Things You May Not Know About Ocean Parkway

The 5.5-mile-long Ocean Parkway runs north/south through the heart of Kensington. Today, flocks of children amble along the pedestrian path, older folks play chess on city provided tables, and vehicles race to beat traffic lights.

But have you wondered if this was the original intention of Ocean Parkway?

The answer is both yes and no.

And so we present 10 things you may not know about Ocean Parkway…

1. Brooklyn was its own city when Ocean Parkway was designed and built. As mayor of the city of Brooklyn, Frederick Schroeder presided over the construction of Ocean Parkway, built between 1874-1876. During that time, the Brooklyn Bridge and the first elevated trains were also being built.

2. It’s widely known that Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux modeled Ocean Parkway after Avenue de L’Impératrice (now Avenue Foch) in Paris. What’s less known is that Ocean Parkway was to be one of four spokes originating at Prospect Park and spanning across stretching across Brooklyn. Eastern Parkway was the only other of these thoroughfares actually built, even though it didn’t reach its intended stopping point. (Photo of Avenue Foch via Studio AK)

3. Bikes were becoming safer and therefore more popular during the time Ocean Parkway was designed and built. Olmsted took this into account. He widened the esplanade and designated a portion specifically for bikes. America’s first bike path opened in 1894. (Photo via NYC Parks)

4. Bike traffic clogged Ocean Parkway since the day it was open to wheelmen. 10,000 cyclists reportedly swarmed the bike path on its opening day. By 1896, the path was widened to accommodate demand. In an effort to curb racing, the bike speed limit was 12 miles per hour on the path, and 10 miles per hour on the Parkway. (Photo via Brooklyn Public Library/TransAlt)

5. Cyclists weren’t the only ones racing along Ocean Parkway. At least 6 jockey clubs competed along Ocean Parkway, each with its own private track. Though horse racing ended at those tracks in 1908 when open betting was banned, bridle paths on the Parkway remained until the 1970s. (Currier and Ives print of Parade Ground race via Stevapalooza)

6. In addition to being credited as the first bike path, Ocean Parkway is also considered America’s first greenway. The tree-lined pedestrian and bike paths separates the through-traffic from the local traffic and residences. The arterial road/main road setup is now suspected to be unsafe for pedestrians, and Ocean Parkway is the often named the most fatal street for them in Brooklyn. Sadly, the most recent pedestrian fatality occurred in June.

7. Olmsted designed the greenway hypothesizing that, in addition to being a relaxing promenade, people would want to live along Ocean Parkway’s arterial side streets. During World War I, mansions were built along the perimeter, and after World War II, apartment buildings. Currently, realtors are marketing a resurgence in Ocean Parkway apartments and houses.

8. Ocean Parkway originally began at Prospect Park’s Park Circle (the circle of of grass and greenery there is known as Police Officer Robert Machate Circle). In the 1950s Robert Moses usurped the northern section for the Prospect Expressway. Ocean Parkway was controversially landmarked on January 28, 1975 to thwart further corruptions of the design. City residents debated which was more important: preserving the intent of Ocean Parkway and risk losing federal funding, or widening the traffic lanes to improve safety but at the loss of the pedestrian paths.

9. Hints of historic Ocean Parkway are layered under more recent additions — or have been completely stripped away. An engraved stone 5-mile marker (5 miles from Prospect Park Circle) was removed (or stolen?), and so the last engraved stone mile marker, 3M, is somewhat preserved at Ave P. (Photo via Sheepshead Bites)

10. One of the more recent additions to Ocean Parkway is a series of fish plaques that are embedded in the malls. They can be found at nine intersections, and they feature ocean creatures with names that coordinate (for the most part) with the initial letter of that cross-street: Avenue C clam, Cortelyou cod, Ditmas dolphin, 18th Avenue anchovies, Webster whale, Newkirk needlefish, Lawrence leatherback, Parkville puffer, and Foster flounder. Some can be found on both sides of the malls, but others — the clam, whale, and leatherback — are only located on the western side of the Parkway, with the bike path.

Do you have any favorite historical facts about Ocean Parkway? Please share them with us in the comments.


Brooklynin silta

Brooklynin silta (engl. Brooklyn Bridge , alkuperäiseltä nimeltään New York and Brooklyn Bridge) yhdistää toisiinsa Manhattanin ja Brooklynin East River -vesiväylän yli New Yorkissa. Sillan kokonaispituus on 1 825 metriä, ja sen pisin jänneväli on 487 metriä. Sen kaksi tornia ovat 85 metriä korkeat. [1] Silta on vinoköysisillan ja riippusillan yhdistelmä.

Brooklynin silta on maailman ensimmäinen teräsvaijeririippusilta. Arkkitehtuuriltaan se edustaa uusgoottilaista tyylisuuntaa. [2] Valmistumisestaan vuonna 1883 aina vuoteen 1903 saakka se oli maailman pisin riippusilta. [3]

Sillalla on nykyisin autokaistat. Niiden yläpuolella on kävelytie. Vuoteen 1950 asti sillan kautta kulki myös raitioliikennettä. [1]

Silta rakennettiin vuosina 1870–1883 insinööri John Augustus Roeblingin suunnitelmien mukaisesti. Hänen kuoltuaan hankkeen vei loppuun hänen poikansa Washington Roebling. Sillan avajaisia vietettiin 24. toukokuuta 1883. [2] Rakennustöissä kuoli yli 20 työmiestä. [4]


3. Bridges provide border security

Bridges 1-4 are shown left to right

With all the buzz lately about our southern border, it’s easy to forget that thousands of people cross the northern border between the United States and Canada each day using bridges. The Peace Bridge, which connects Buffalo, New York and Fort Erie, Ontario, handles almost five million vehicle crossings each year.

Check out these bridges that not only move traffic across major waterways but also play a vital role in border security:

1. The Peace Bridge is located on the east end of Lake Erie. The Bridge consists of five arched spans over the Niagara River and a Parker through-truss section over the Black Rock Canal on the American side of the river. The bridge is just over a mile long.

The Peace Bridge was completed in 1927 and named to commemorate a century of peace between the United States and Canada.

2. The Rainbow Bridge is an arch bridge over the Niagara River gorge that connects the cities of Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario. The bridge is not just a major border crossing, it’s also a popular tourist site because of the unique views it offers of Niagara Falls. It was completed in 1941 and was built on the site of the earlier Honeymoon Bridge, which collapsed two years earlier because of an ice jam in the river.

3. The Fort Frances – International Falls International Bridge is a privately owned toll bridge that connects the small towns of International Falls, Minnesota and Fort Frances, Ontario. Unlike other border crossings, this bridge is owned and operated by paper mills on the U.S. and Canadian sides of the border. This arrangement helps facilitate commerce.

4. The Thousand Islands Bridge was constructed in 1937 and added on to in 1959. This series of bridges span the U.S. Canadian border over the St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands region.

While this is a complex bridge infrastructure system, the actual international border crossing is a set of two parallel 90-foot-long bridges between Wellesley Island in the United States and Hill Island in Canada.


8 Step Mother Was Written With Coleman In Mind

The pair obviously work really well together. Each are fantastic performers, and their chemistry as both Fleabag and Step-Mother is electric. The passive-aggressive moments of confrontation are some of the funniest and most cringe-worthy moments of the series.

There is a reason that the pair works so well though, and why Colman feels like a perfect fit. Apparently, while writing the series and the character, Phoebe Waller-Bridge always had Colman in mind to play the role. So, she essentially wrote the character around Colman, in the hopes she would play it.


He loves his rivalry with Dwayne &aposThe Rock&apos Johnson

In an industry all about pitting players against one another, Cena’s favorite rival is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. “He tends to bring out the best in everyone,” Cena told Men’s Journal . “That’s why I admire him so much. Whether I personally like him or not is irrelevant. He brings out the best in everyone.”

The two most famously faced off a WrestleMania XXVII in 2012, when The Rock beat Cena, but the following year, the two had a rematch when Cena — also called the Cenation — emerged victorious.


6 The Web Warriors

The Spider-Verse concept blew open the doors on the Spider-Man character and the possibilities of having infinite variations of him. Gwen Stacy quickly became part of the Web Warriors, an interdimensional team of Spider-People who traveled from one alternate reality to another to defend them against threats.

These were realities without a Spider-Man of their own in many cases. The team was mainly composed of Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man UK, and Anya Corazon, a version of Spider-Girl.


21 Facts You May Not Know About Roberto Clemente on the Anniversary of His Debut

The 20,000 fans in attendance at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh 57 years ago today likely didn't know how much baseball history they would be witness to.

During the first game of a double-header against the Brooklyn Dodgers, right fielder Roberto Clemente took the field for the first time, kicking off a storied career that he spent entirely in a Pirates uniform.

That career was tragically cut short, however, when Clemente was killed on New Year's Eve 1972 during a flight to deliver aid packages from his native Puerto Rico to earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua.

In honor of Clemente's professional debut, here are 21 facts about his life and baseball legacy that you might not have known:

1. Roberto Clemente Walker was the youngest of seven children born to Don Melchor Clemente and Luisa Walker. He was born on Aug. 18, 1934, in Carolina, Puerto Rico—the same town boxers Esteban De Jesus and Alfredo Escalera called home.

2. Clemente rode the bench during his first year as a teenager with the Santurce Cangrejeros (“Crabbers”) in the Puerto Rico Baseball League. By the next year, he was a starter and the team’s leadoff hitter.

3. The Brooklyn Dodgers signed Clemente in 1952 to its Triple-A team in Montreal with a $10,000 bonus, but he was used as a bench player. An MLB rule stated that any player given a bonus of more than $4,000 had to be on a major league roster for his entire first season or be eligible for the annual rookie draft, and the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him first overall in 1954.

4. During his first professional game (ironically against the Dodgers), Clemente went 1-for-4 and scored a run. He hit 2-for-4 with a double and a run in the second game, but the Bucs lost both games by scores of 10-3 and 3-2, respectively.

5. Pirates center fielder Earl Smith wore No. 21 until he parted ways with the team in April 1955. Clemente wore No. 13 until then.

6. He was in a car accident during his rookie season and missed several games due to a lower back injury. Clemente played in 124 games and finished the season with a .255 average.

7. On July 25, 1956, he became the only player ever to hit a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam. He did it in a 9-8 win over the Cubs at Forbes field.

8. Clemente enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve after the 1958 season and spent six months on active duty at Parris Island, South Carolina and Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. He served until 1964 and was inducted into the Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

9. Although many media organizations and the Topps baseball card company often referred to him as “Bob,” Clemente adamantly rejected that name and repeatedly insisted he be called Roberto.

10. Except for 1968, Clemente batted over .300 and was named to the National League All-Star team each year during the 1960s.

11. Clemente won a Gold Glove award every year from 1961 until his final season in 1972. He shares the record for most Gold Glove awards by outfielders (12) with Willie Mays.

12. Clemente was the first Hispanic player to accomplish many feats in the majors. He was the first to win a World Series as a starter, be named league MVP, be named World Series MVP and be elected to the Hall of Fame.

13. He finished his career with exactly 3,000 hits. His final one was a double off Jon Matlack of the New York Mets on Sept. 30, 1972.

14. Nearly as well-known for his humanitarian efforts as his baseball career, Clemente sent shipments of aid to Nicaragua after an earthquake ravaged the country in late 1972. Clemente decided to accompany the packages when he learned that three previous shipments had been diverted by corrupt Somoza government officials.

15. The four-engine DC-7 plane he chartered for a flight on New Year's Eve reportedly had a history of mechanical problems and was overloaded by 4,200 pounds. The plane crashed in the Atlantic Ocean immediately after takeoff from the coast of Isla Verde. Four others were killed.

16. Clemente’s teammate Manny Sanguillen was the only Pirate not to attend the memorial service. That's because he instead traveled to Puerto Rico to dive into the waters where the plane crashed in an effort to recover Clemente’s body—which was never found.

17. At the time of his death, Clemente and Bill Mazeroski were the only remaining Pirates from the 1960 World Champion team.

18. Clemente was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal of Honor in 1973. It's one of many honors bestowed on the outfielder for his humanitarian efforts following his death.

19. Clemente was the first and only Hall of Fame member for whom the mandatory five-year waiting period was waived. He was elected posthumously in 1973.

20. His plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, read “Roberto Walker Clemente”—incorrectly placing his mother’s maiden name before his father’s surname until 2000, when it was recast to express his name in the proper Hispanic format.

21. When Pittsburgh's PNC Park was being built, there were talks of naming it after Clemente. But the naming rights went to local PNC Financial Services and the nearby Sixth Street Bridge leading to the stadium was named after him instead. The right field wall at PNC Park is 21-feet high in honor of Clemente’s normal fielding position and uniform number.


10 Things You May Not Know About Sullivan's Island

This enticing barrier island has played a prominent role in the region's history. Today, those who live on it or who frequent it rightfully consider it a gem.

1. O'well. Sullivan's Island was named after Captain Florence O'Sullivan who "was charged by the government of Carolina to protect the city [of Charleston] by placing a gun in the best place possible for such a task" in 1674.

2. Quarantine. Sullivan's Island was the entry point for forty percent of the more than 400,000 Africans forced to come to Britain's North American colonies. They would be quarantined for 10 days on the island.

3. Third time's the charm. The first two attempts at building a permanent Fort Moultrie failed. The fort has modernized numerous times since it was "an irregular form, built of brick" again in 1809.

4. By land and sea. Sullivan's Island was once serviced by both a ferry and a trolley system. Horse and buggies exited the ferry regularly. The current station designations harken back to the age of the island trolley.

5. Still today. Incorporated as Moultrieville in 1817, its ordinances demanded that no lot be smaller than one half acre in size. Exactly 200 years later, that same restriction still applies.

6. Bridgeless. Hurricane Hugo devastated Sullivan's in September of 1989. The Ben Sawyer Bridge, connecting the barrier island with the mainland, broke free of its locks. The ungodly result: one end of the bridge was in the water and the other was pointing skyward.

7. Poe before Poe's. The island's popular watering hole actually was named after Edgar Allan Poe. He was stationed at Fort Moultrie for the majority of 1828.

8. Worth writing about. Besides Mr. Poe, numerous other authors were fascinated with Sullivan's Island, making it the backdrop for novels by Pat Conroy, Dorothea Benton Frank and Lawrence Hill.

9. Smokeless in Sullivan's. In 2006, the Town of Sullivan's Island became the first municipality in the state to ban smoking in all public areas.

10. Natural beauty and monetary wealth. According to the United States Census Bureau, Sullivan's Island has seen triple-digit increases in per capita income since 1979. Its estimated median household income is now well in excess of $100K.

If you haven't visited Sullivan's Island lately, only one question remains. What are you waiting for?


2. Passengers and crew aboard the planes provided critical information

Those aboard the four hijacked flights — American 11, United 175, American 77 and United 93 — called family and friends from their cellphones or used the aircrafts' radio communications to report the hijackings. That alerted authorities to the hijackings and enabled them to understand why they could not track the planes after their navigation systems were turned off.

The Pentagon following the crash of American 77 on Sept. 11, 2001. (Photo: ROB CURTIS, XXX ARMY TIMES)

American 77, which departed Washington's Dulles airport, was hijacked near Indianapolis and then turned back toward Washington. Its destination: the Pentagon. Passenger Barbara Olson, the wife of Solicitor General Ted Olson, called her husband to report "that the flight had been hijacked, and the hijackers had knives and box cutters." American 77 crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m., killing all 64 people on board, including the five hijackers. Information gathered from the calls from flight attendants and passengers enabled investigators to piece together the events on board each plane and how the hijackings occurred.


3. Light passenger loads made it easier for the hijackers to maneuver

American 11, bound from Boston to Los Angeles, had 81 passengers on board out of a possible 158, according to the 9/11 report and aircraft data.

United 175, which also left Boston for Los Angeles, had 56 passengers out of a possible 168. That was a "load factor" of 33%, considerably lower than the 49% average for that flight, a federal investigation showed.

American 77, headed to Los Angeles from Washington, had 58 passengers out of a capacity of 176, the 9/11 report and other reports said.


Watch the video: Brooklyn Bridge. How It Was Built (November 2022).

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