Location: Manhattan Bridge, New York, NY 11201
For more than a century, the towering Manhattan Bridge has offered travelers passage over the East River. This historic suspension bridge has a total length of nearly 7,000 feet and provides pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, and subway riders alike with a route between Lower Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn. The Manhattan Bridge’s innovative design and striking form make it one of New York City’s most captivating landmarks, and its fascinating history adds to the appeal of this functional and beautiful attraction. This visual wonder and example of engineering innovation is a great addition to any New York City sightseeing trip, and savvy visitors looking to tour New York City landmarks should definitely make a stop at the Manhattan Bridge. Washington Street in Brooklyn offers an iconic view of this notable bridge!
Manhattan Bridge History
Completed in 1910, the Manhattan Bridge was one of three bridges built over the lower East River, along with the Williamsburg Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge. Construction on the bridge began in 1901, and costs totaled $31 million by the time the structure was completed approximately a decade later. The bridge was designed by Leon Moisseiff, although various architectural elements, such as the arch and colonnade at the Manhattan entrance, were designed by other teams. Moisseiff’s design was based on deflection theory, which posited that suspension bridges were stronger than previous models suggested. Deflection theory allowed Moisseiff to omit the enormous trusses that can be found on other suspension bridges of the time.
The Manhattan Bridge was the first bridge to be built based on deflection theory, guaranteeing that the design was innovative from both the engineering and aesthetic perspectives. However, this innovation came with a price. Moisseiff’s understanding of deflection theory was incomplete, and in the 1980s, a $920 million reconstruction program began to address a variety of maintenance and aesthetic issues as well as some more complex structural issues related to the original design of the Manhattan Bridge. NYC residents and visitors will be able to travel over the Manhattan Bridge for years to come thanks to this extensive reconstruction project.
Today, the Manhattan Bridge is both an attraction for tourists and an integral part of the city’s infrastructure. More than 450,000 commuters travel over the bridge each weekday, and more than 75% of these trips are made by public transit. Regardless of how they make the trip, when traveling across the Manhattan Bridge, NYC residents and visitors are treated to an impressive view.
A reference to the Manhattan Bridge can be found in the name of one of New York City’s most expensive neighborhoods. The DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn is an acronym for “down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass.” In addition to a thriving arts scene, this Brooklyn neighborhood has the highest concentration of tech companies in all of New York City, numerous dining options, and stunning views of the Manhattan Bridge. Washington Street in DUMBO provides professional and amateur photographers alike with the opportunity to capture the perfect shot of the bridge.
While the Manhattan Bridge may not have the same name recognition as its older sister the Brooklyn Bridge, numerous references to the younger bridge can be found in modern pop culture. The bridge’s imposing structure has been featured in multiple movies, including the 2013 film Oblivion and the 1984 film Once Upon a Time in America. The view of the bridge from Washington Street in Brooklyn became iconic after it was featured on the official poster for Once Upon a Time in America. The Manhattan Bridge can also be seen in a number of print and video advertisements, and it even inspired the design of a silk scarf sold at the notable New York City store Henri Bendel. The Manhattan Bridge has left its mark on popular culture, and you can experience this piece of history for yourself when you visit New York City. Take advantage of our flexible tour packages to see the top NYC attractions, including the Manhattan Bridge, at the best prices.
Manhattan Bridge FAQs
When Was the Manhattan Bridge Built?
Construction of the Manhattan Bridge began in 1901 and was completed in 1910.
Where Is the DUMBO Section of Brooklyn?
The DUMBO neighborhood covers two areas: one between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges and one that runs east from the Manhattan Bridge to the Vinegar Hill neighborhood.
Can You Walk on and Across the Manhattan Bridge?
Yes, you can walk across the Manhattan Bridge, although many don’t consider it quite as scenic as the Brooklyn Bridge.
Does the Manhattan Bridge Have a Walkway?
Yes, there is a walkway on the Manhattan Bridge that is safe for pedestrians to use.
How Long Is the Manhattan Bridge Walk?
The Manhattan Bridge is a little more than 6,000 feet long, which means it’s a little more than a mile to walk across.
How Long Did it Take to Build the Manhattan Bridge?
It took nine years to build the Manhattan Bridge. It opened to traffic on Dec. 31, 1909.
What Color Is the Manhattan Bridge?
The bridge’s color is so distinctive that it’s known as “Manhattan Bridge blue.” Originally, the bridge was gray, but time and weathering have given it a blue-gray tone.