December 31, 2009

Happy 100th Birthday Manhattan (Bridge)

The Manhattan Bridge turns 100 today.  But there will be no fireworks, no banners, no cheering crowds like those that greeted the Brooklyn Bridge.  That's because the Manhattan Bridge gets no respect.  

Today's TIMES has an article detailing the reasons why this bridge, sandwiched between the more celebrated Brooklyn and  Williamsburg East River crossings, tends to be somewhat ignored.  It has no storied history behind it, like that of the Roeblings who built the Brooklyn Bridge against all odds. Also, the bridge was poorly constructed from the start, designed by a man who is responsible for one of most spectacular bridge failures of all time.  Personally, one reason I believe the bridge is not so beloved is that so many New Yorkers spend time stranded on this bridge on one of the four subway lines that use it to cross the river.  

However, if you step back and take a nice long look, the Manhattan Bridge is really quite stunning, especially the four globes that stand atop the two central towers.  The bridge is majestic and steely yet still has a certain turn of the century charm to it.  Maybe with time and the completion of the bridge's seemingly endless renovation more people will come to admire it.  Happy Birthday, Manhattan Bridge!

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