Wow! Quite some bridge. It Connects the Fort Hamilton/Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn with Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island. In Brooklyn, this would be the southwestern tip of the borough.
Standing beautifully, day or night, it’s visible from quite a number of corners in the Bay Ridge Area. Beside it is the Shore Promenade off Shore Road which spans a pretty good distance. There always seems to be enough people running, bicycling or skating along the way. You could even take a break at any one of the many benches along the way. Before you reach the actual promenade there’s this park area, appropriate for picnicking and playing frisbee, ball or what have you. Personally, I’ve enjoyed simply resting under the shade of a tree. That is, whenever I get to go down there. Once again, here’s another example of beauty which just might be too far to go out of your way for.
Construction on the Verrazano began August 13, 1959 and the upper level of the bridge opened on November 21, 1964 with the lower level opening on June 28, 1969.
With an overall length of more than 2 miles, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of dedication on November 21, 1964. Today it’s only in the top 10. It was at this dedication that Othmar H. Ammann was honored and touted as perhaps the greatest bridge engineer of all time. Ammann was also responsible for the Triborough, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck & George Washington Bridges.
The bridge was named after Giovanni da Verrazano who in 1524 was sent out by the French to sail up the east coast of North America from Florida to Cape Cod. He desired to see what the area must look like so he explored the mouth of the New York Harbor. It was after him that the bridge was named. He was the first European Navigator to enter the New York Bay.
At the time of its construction, there was no other direct connection between Staten Island and Brooklyn. As a result of its being built, the Staten Island population began to increase at a rate of seventeen hundred people per month. This increase continued for years until maybe 1980, after which the increase leveled off to approximately twelve thousand people per year.
During its first year of operation, the bridge carried about 48,000 vehicles whereas it carries close to 200,000/day today.
The impact of this bridge’s construction was felt first by the Bay Ridge area. About 800 buildings had to be demolished and thousands of residents relocated.
Of course the vastly increased traffic between Staten Island and Brooklyn left its toll on the island as well. For Staten Island, the bridge helped to produce the type of modern problems usually experienced by growing cities. These modern problems consisted of crowded public facilities, land booms, traffic jams, increased crime, and environmental deterioration. Things which Staten Island had previously avoided.
As with any sort of advancement in society the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge came to represent progress. Access to cultural amenities, sophisticated health-care facilities, and the savings in time and money were some of the advantages. I doubt there are few if any doubters of the bridge today.
Total length (including approaches): 13,700 feet (WOW!!!)
Width of bridge floor: 103 feet
Supported by: 4 cables (each 36″ in diameter, 7,205ft long)
Total weight of steel used: over 135,000 tons
Original cost: over $320 million
Traffic Lanes: 12 on two decks
Construction: 1959 – 1964
Opened to traffic on: November 21, 1964
Clearance above water: 228 feet
Source Citation: “Motives for Exploration in the 1400s and 1500s, 1419 – 1600.” DISCovering U.S. History. Gale Research, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale Group. http://www.galenet.com/servlet/HistRC/
Document Number: DJ2104240804
Source Citation: “Verrazano Bridge Opens, November 21, 1964.” Discovering US History. Gale Research, 1997. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale Group. http://www.galenet.com/servlet/HistRC/ Document Number: DJ2104241713