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Old Posted Nov 21, 2009, 8:10 PM
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Happy Birthday Verrazano-Narrows Bridge!

On november 21st, 1964, New York City reclaimed the title of world's longest suspension span, with the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, between Staten Island and Brooklyn.
The previous record holder had been the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, with a suspended span between the towers of 4200 feet, eclipsing the George Washington Bridge with its 3500 foot span. Now the title was returned, with the Verrazano's 4260 feet of suspension.

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was the last work of the renowned engineer Othmar Ammann, and the last great bridge built in New York City.
Ammann most certainly left his mark on NYC, giving us six beautiful bridges- Bayonne, Triborough, George Washington, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs neck, and finally the mighty Verrazano.

The Verrazano was truly an incredible bridge. Not only the longest, but also one of the heaviest, with two five-lane decks. Such was the distance between the towers that the curvature of the earth had to be taken into account when they were designed. Even today, that bridge has far-reaching effect- Any ship whose owners wish it to enter New York's harbour must design their vessel to be able to fit under the bridge. Apparently the Queen Mary 2 had to have her funnel's design tweaked to fit that requirement.

But the magnificent bridge was not built without controversy or heartache. To make way for it, some 800 homes in Brooklyn were torn down, and the residents relocated. Such was the furor that even today, some lingering resentment exists, with some folks still hating that bridge.

The bridge was also part of the legacy of Robert Moses, one of the most controversial urban planners of all time. He was criticized for his almost unchecked power and abuse thereof, even going so far as to uproot so many people in the name of "progress". Another lingering bit of his legacy is the fact that the Verrazano was built without pedestrian sidewalks of any sort.

Currently the only way to set foot on this bridge as a pedestrian is to run the NY Marathon. However, there is a movement afoot to get the bridge retrofitted with a walkway and bike path. Here's hoping it succeeds!

Sadly I don't have any of my own Verrazano-porn to post. If anyone else does, feel free to liven things up with some juicy pics!
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2009, 9:49 PM
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Aww, no Verrazano love? Poor bridge, I can just see the thing sitting over the entrance to NY harbour, singing sadly to itself "Happy birthday..to me.."

I figure the anniversaries of these bridges are a great time to salute these amazing structures, it's why I start these.
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2009, 11:07 PM
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I’ve been amazed by this bridge ever since I was a kid being driven to see my grandparents in Brooklyn. Crossing it was always the best part of the trip, and as I got older I appreciated what it really was even more. The best way to really capture the size is to view it either from the Staten Island boardwalk or the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. It’s truly one of the most magnificent bridges anywhere in the world, and one hell of a way to say welcome to New York when you enter into the harbor.

Happy Birthday, and many more!
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Old Posted Nov 23, 2009, 12:57 AM
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Source: Encyclopedia Britannica(!)

That wasn't too hard; 10 seconds of Google and presto!

It's a beautiful suspension bridge and certainly worthy of a birthday thread. It's such a shame that it does not have sidewalks. Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge was a highlight of my trip to SF last year. I could easily see people making a point of walking or cycling across it while in NYC.
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Old Posted Nov 23, 2009, 1:19 AM
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The only way for me to get to Staten Island by bike from Brooklyn without taking a bus or boat would be to go through Manhattan and New Jersey...

Not that I'm itching to visit Staten Island anytime soon, but boy is it dissapointing to have been built without pedestrian decks...
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Old Posted Nov 24, 2009, 4:09 AM
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Apparently a group of teens picketed the opening ceremony of the bridge, holding signs with slogans like "Are feet obselete?".
According to Rober Moses, the bridge was built without sidewalks because he and his people thought that they would get little use, and would be a suicide hot spot.
I have heard there is a movement afoot to get the bridge retrofitted with sidewalks and bike paths, maybe those of us who want these should start yelling a little louder.
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Old Posted Nov 24, 2009, 4:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanita View Post
Aww, no Verrazano love? Poor bridge, I can just see the thing sitting over the entrance to NY harbour, singing sadly to itself "Happy birthday..to me.."

I figure the anniversaries of these bridges are a great time to salute these amazing structures, it's why I start these.
Only on the big ones (25th, 40th, 50th, etc.)

Hopefully 2014 will be a blowout...
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Old Posted Nov 24, 2009, 8:00 PM
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Yeah, that would be awesome. But let's try to avoid nearly breaking its back like Golden Gate's legion of fans did in 1987- so many people swarmed onto the deck that they actually flattened the center span's graceful arch! The San Francisco backspan also experienced similar deflection. And that was just the people who managed to get onto the bridge- estimates say that between 2 and 300,000 people got onto the bridge, with as many as 500,000 all around, trying to get on. Yikes!
But in 2014, let's throw one hell of a party for Verrazano-Narrows Bridge!
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