I love all the crime scene dramas set in New York City such as Castle, Law and Order, Blue Bloods, Elementary, and Person of Interest. When I started this post several years ago (and sadly forgot about it) I was going through summer hiatus withdrawals and was watching re-runs of Blue Bloods. I am always fascinated with the various New York Bridges during these opening credits and started wondering which bridges they were. Thus, I decided to do some research and find out which bridges we want to see while on our first trip to New York City. I was amazed at how many bridges there actually were in the Manhattan area. There are quite many but I decided to stick with the main eight that cross the East River. With that said, here are the East River Bridges that I found the most captivating and that I wanted to see when we visited the city. They are in no particular order.
The Manhattan Bridge is a suspension bridge that crosses the East River in New York City, connecting Lower Manhattan at Canal Street with Downtown Brooklyn at the Flatbush Avenue Extension. This is one of four toll-free Manhattan Bridges spanning the East River; the other three are the Queensboro, Brooklyn, and Williamsburg Bridges. The bridge contains 7 lanes of roadway, 4 tracks of the B, D, N & Q trains of the New York City Subway, pedestrians, and bicycles. It is 6,855 feet long, 336 feet tall, and has a width of 120 feet. Construction began in 1901 and opened on December 31, 1909. Then a year later, in 1910, the design for the grand entry began. An arch design was picked and construction was completed in 1915. The arch and colonnade were designated a New York City landmark on November 25, 1975.
Also known as the 59th Street Bridge (because its Manhattan end is located between 59th and 60th Street) is a cantilever Manhattan Bridge over the East River. It connects the neighborhood of Long Island City in the borough of Queens with Manhattan, passing over Roosevelt Island. There are 10 lanes (4 upper, 6 lower) and 1 lane for pedestrians/bicycles. It is 3,724 feet 6 inches and 100 feet wide. Today the bridge is the first entry point into Manhattan in the course of the New York City Marathon and the last exit point out of Manhattan in the Five Boro Bike Tour.
The Brooklyn Bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River and is one of the oldest suspension/cable-stayed hybrid bridges in the United States. The towers are built of limestone, granite, and Rosendale cement. The granite blocks were quarried and shaped on Vinalhaven Island, Maine. Construction of the bridge began in 1869 and was opened for use on May 24, 1883. It is 276.5 feet above mean high water, 5,989 feet long, and 85 feet wide. With being only a little over a mile long, many people make a point of walking from one end to the other for the amazing and unique views of the city. People say it is better to start on the Brooklyn side and walk toward Manhattan. We plan on doing this while we are there and we will start in Brooklyn J. Today it has become an icon of New York City, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964. Can’t wait to see this bridge.
The Williamsburg Bridge is another suspension bridge in New York City which crosses the East River connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan with the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Construction on the bridge began in 1896 and opened on December 19, 1903, at a cost of $24,200,000. At the time, it was the Williamsburg Bridge set the record for the longest suspension bridge span on Earth. At the foot of the bridge in Williamsburg between South 5th Place and Havemeyer Street in Brooklyn are three public areas that, collectively, comprise the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza, also known as Washington Plaza or George Washington Monument Park. Sounds like a nice place to have lunch and relax.
Roosevelt Island Bridge
This bridge crosses the East Channel of the East River and is the sole route to the island for vehicular and foot traffic (without using public transportation). Construction of the bridge began on March 17, 1952, and opened on May 18, 1955, It is a vertical lift bridge that connects Roosevelt Island in Manhattan to Astoria in Queens. Before the bridge was constructed, the only way vehicles could access Roosevelt Island was via an elevator on the Queensboro Bridge.
The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge connects Throggs Neck and Ferry Point Park in the Bronx, on the East River’s northern shore, with the Whitestone neighborhood of Queens on the southern shore. With a center span of 2,300 feet, the Bronx–Whitestone Bridge once had the fourth-largest center span of any suspension bridge in the world. The bridge has a total length of 3,700 feet, and its towers reach 377 feet above water level.
Robert F. Kennedy Bridge
The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge aka the Triborough Bridge is a complex of bridges and elevated expressway viaducts that link the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. The viaducts cross Randalls and Wards Islands, which were previously two islands but are now joined by landfills. Excluding the elevated ramps, the segments are a total of 17,710 feet long, with a 13,560-foot-long span between the Bronx and Queens, and a 4,150-foot-long span between Manhattan and the interchange plaza. In total, the bridge contains 17.5 miles (28.2 km) of roadway, including elevated ramps.
Throgs Neck Bridge
This bridge connects the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx with the Bay Terrace section of Queens. It is the newest bridge across the East River and was built to relieve traffic on the Bronx–Whitestone Bridge. The Throgs Neck Bridge is also the easternmost crossing of the East River. Thus, due to this and its proximity to I-95, it is the closest route from Long Island to New Jersey via the George Washington Bridge, as well as points north.
East River Bridges are all quite interesting and beautiful. Hope you enjoyed a little information about them. I love bridges and enjoy seeing them and learning more about them. Let me know which is your favorite. I will share mine with you. 🙂 Happy travels.
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3 thoughts on “East River Bridges – Eight Manhattan Bridges That Span The East River”
This is awesome! Beautiful pics!!
Thank you Kate. I am glad you seem to have enjoyed my post. Happy travels. 🙂
I love the Brooklyn Bridge- and have walked it so many times. But, being an ex-NYer, I’ve used all thsoe bridges umpteen times- and then some.