Most Interesting Facts About the Brooklyn Bridge

By: Abdullah Haroon November 11, 2021

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The Brooklyn Bridge was not for political gains rather it was the need of the hour. The project was initiated keeping the noble goal of providing quick and safe access to Brooklyn residents to the other boroughs. Its blueprint was prepared by a German-born engineer John Augustus Roebling who met bad luck in the very initial days of the start.

Let us take a ride down the archives of history and amuse ourselves with some most interesting facts about the Brooklyn Bridge.

Bribery Helped Secure Funding:

Brooklyn Bridge was envisioned to facilitate residents of Brooklyn commuting to other boroughs. However, to initiate such a noble cause, politician William M. Tweed bribed up to $65,000. The hidden purpose was to secure the $1.5 million in funding for the construction of the bridge. He went on to become one of the major shareholders of the bridge stock and became a member of a committee managing finance. He funneled a huge chunk of money out of the project until he was charged and held responsible for his malpractice.

A Death Toll of 20 People:

One of the biggest tragedies of the Brooklyn Bridge was of its architect, a German-born John A. Roebling. In 1969, before the start of construction, he was taking readings when he slipped and crushed between pilings and a boat. He was treated in hospital for some days where his toes were amputated to contain tetanus but he could only survive a few more days.

Other deaths came during the construction period when workers fell off the 276-foot-high towers or became victims of some diseases.

brooklyn bridge

Though there is no official data available for total deaths it is assumed to be in a bracket of 20 to 30 people. Other big and small injuries were separate from them.

Read Also: Best Brooklyn Neighborhoods for Families

The Longest Suspension Bridge in the World of the Time:

Accidents in the 19th century involved the collapse of some suspension bridges which made the style less popular. However, the architect of the Brooklyn Bridge figured out the reasons behind it and came up with a solution by adding a web truss. He went on to build four bridges in the 1850s. The biggest project of his life was the Brooklyn Bridge. It remained the longest bridge until the construction of the nearby Williamsburg Bridge in 1903.

A Massive Opening Ceremony:

The bridge was opened for the public on May 24, 1883. The day was not mundane and boring since it was the opening of the longest suspension bridge across the world. A huge crowd gathered at the site; The New York Times described it as a gala day. Political figures including the governor and president walked on the bridge together followed by a military band. Celebrations were punctuated with canon fires when they reached the other end of the bridge. The sky remained lit with fireworks for almost an hour. Public figures made long speeches and reception was given to them.

Storing Wine was made Under the Bridge:

In its structure, engineers went on to make space for the compartments under the bridge which were used to make a strong wine. It provided the optimum temperature required to make the best flavor of the wine.

Brooklyn was a Separate City at the Time of Construction:

At the time of deciding for the construction of the bridge, Brooklyn was not part of NYC. It was a separate city until the referendum held in 1898 which favored the merger with 277 votes. Before that, Brooklyn was the fourth biggest city with quality education and a good employment rate.

Brooklyn Bridge is a Cultural Icon:

The Brooklyn Bridge became quite a sensation in the coming days of its construction and became the impetus for many big structures in the city. It became a favorite building for artists who painted it to the best of their skills and imagination such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol. It was not merely paintings that derived inspiration from Brooklyn Bridge. But novels and documentaries also used the Brooklyn Bridge for inspiration and craft.

brooklyn bridge in new york at evening

It Gives you a Breathtaking Experience:

Taking a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge is a breathtaking experience. It is a mandatory activity for first-time visitors to the city. You would find a lot of company there as it remains one of the popular and busy sites in NYC. Though there is a common lane for bike riders and pedestrians, still you can have a trouble-free walk over the bridge.

Read Also: Most Fascinating Facts About the Manhattan Bridge

If you are addicted to taking selfies, you would be mesmerized by the views and might end up taking dozens of perfect shots before reaching the other end of the bridge. Keep a bottle of water with you if you happen to cross it on a hot day.

It was not Free at the Start:

At the time of its opening, the crossing of the bridge used to cost substantial money. The toll prices were as under:

  • 5 cents for a horse and rider
  • 10 cents for a horse and wagon
  • 5 cents per cow
  • 2 cents per sheep
  • A penny to cross by foot

In 1891, the toll for those who cross on foot was repealed under public pressure. Since 1911, bridges on the East River including the Brooklyn Bridge are declared free of a toll even though other bridges yet cost tolls in NYC.

The Wrapping Words:

The Brooklyn Bridge is not merely a facility for people to cross over the East River, it is a cultural icon. First-time visitors to the city shall have the experience, for it has no parallel.