By: Ansley Jordan
While researching an architectural piece of art, I came across multiple pictures of a bridge that struck awe into my eyes. The Brooklyn Bridge is unique and beautiful to all of its visitors. Although I have never seen the Brooklyn Bridge, I dream of the day that I can see such a monument of strength and exquisiteness.
The phenomenal, Brooklyn Bridge was built to attach the large span of the East River connecting 1,595 feet and six inches between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Built to be the largest bridge in the world, its first purpose was to connect the growing cities of New York. It is known for it’s beautiful architecture and multi functional purpose for not only cars but also pedestrians and cyclists. Its unique design was created by John Roebling and finished by his son Washington Roebling, with the help of his wife Emily Warren Roebling. The Roebling family considered many effects to their thirteen year project such as: the materials and money necessary, the size, shape and function of the bridge, as well as its location, appearance, and the environmental issues that might come along. The Roebling designed resulted in a beautiful and functional work of art and became the highlight of the New York City skyline of the 1880s.
The Brooklyn Bridge is not only famous for its unique architecture and design but it was also the longest suspension bridge of its time until 1903. Chosen as a National Historic Landmark in 1964, the bridge added National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark to its title in 1972. The Brooklyn Bridge is a well-constructed and powerful architecture, which illustrates both the traditional and modern era of its time. The neo Gothic pointed arches and castle like passageways demonstrate the traditional architecture of art. These towers made of limestone, granite and cement helped Roebling with his vision to support the bridge with six times the strength necessary. The suspension cables appeared to the viewers through modern symmetry and shape. Each cable stretched from the top of the tower to the deck, which stiffened the bridge. Roebling’s idea of a suspension bridge allowed the mixture of both traditional castle like structures, and cables of modern straight lines. Rather than simply having a connection across a body of water, Roebling created a work of art for all of his viewers, including me.
The materials and engineering necessary for the Brooklyn Bridge resulted in a 15.5 million dollar budget. Although the cost of the bridge is outrageous to many people, its ability to stand for 129 years insures it’s worth. Many other bridges built during the same time have fallen, while the Brooklyn Bridge has continued to stand with few reconstructions. The multi million-dollar investment in structure secured the function and beauty of the bridge for over 100 years.
The Brooklyn Bridge was built as a six lane, 85 feet wide bridge, allowing motor vehicles, elevated trains, streetcars, pedestrians and bicycles from its opening. Since then it has been modified permitting only cars, pedestrians and bicycles. Only six days after it’s opening on May 24, 1883, a rumor was spread that the bridge was going to collapse. This question raised multiple problems, leaving twelve people killed due to panic. To rid of the rumor, P.T. Barnum of “Barnum and Bailey’s Circus,” led a stampede of twenty-one elephants crossed the Brooklyn Bridge successfully.
The massive Brooklyn Bridge has a very unique appearance. From a pedestrian view looking up through the castle passageways present very symmetrical cables that come together at a single point on the arches. This beautiful view is breathtaking and indescribable. At night, the lights on the cables lead you to your destination with elegant poise. Even in the daylight, this indescribable beauty shows a well-constructed amazement. For an 1800’s construction, the Brooklyn Bridge is a remarkable combination of originality and belief in building for the future, in which Mr. Roebling had always dreamed about. It is amazing that a building developed at a time where buildings emerged from simply the mind and creativity that a structure could be built that would not only continue to impress the world but also sustain the wear and tear of years of passage across the water.
The Roebling family would be very impressed with their work, if they could see the Brooklyn Bridge’s wonder and awe of today. The Brooklyn Bridge accomplished uniting rural Brooklyn with the grow population of Manhattan by creating the Greater New York Area. Through function and art, the Brooklyn Bridge created not only a solution to the growing population but a piece of architecture that can be enjoyed for hundreds of years. In 1983, on the 100th anniversary celebration President Ronald Regan led a crossing of the bridge, just as President Chester Arthur did one hundred years before, ending with a sky full of fireworks. This great monument is not only art for the world to see, but proof that America can last through anything with the help of our strong support. I hope that one day I will be able to experience the beauty and impact the Brooklyn Bridge has made.