A SILENT, HEARTFELT HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Oftentimes barely noticed if not utterly ignored, the Manhattan Bridge is situated adjacent to, and in the shadow of, the Brooklyn Bridge. Unlike its older and legendary rival, the Manhattan Bridge failed to receive its share of glowing paeans and dazzling tributes over the years…resigned to its status as a serviceable not a laudable bridge, it became one of NYC’s many humble landmarks.

This past December 31, as the city gloriously rang in the new year, the Manhattan Bridge celebrated its 100th anniversary. Of course, it was a quiet celebration for a bridge so accustomed to quiet recognition and silent praise. Except for scattered mentions in news media and modest commemorative gestures by city officials, the accolades were few and far between; a day of historical not popular interest.

The Manhattan Bridge was designed by Leon Moisseiff and is a two-level suspension bridge spanning the East River between Canal Street in Manhattan and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. The bridge at 6,855 feet long, its main span measuring 1,470 feet, rises 135 feet over the East River. Four vehicular traffic lanes and a pedestrian walk are on the bridge’s upper level, while its lower level supports three lanes and four subway tracks. A grand arch, with flanking colonnades designed by Carrere and Hastings, towers over the bridge’s Manhattan entranceway.

Admittedly, not as innovative nor as glorious a achievement as the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge is still a beloved and eternal part of New York City. An old friend we’ve come to know and, if taken for granted, quietly loved nonetheless.

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