Spanning the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Bridge is an architectural marvel of 19th century engineering. Opened in 1883, it is about 6000 feet long and sits 127 feet above the river. The pedestrian walkway is 18 feet above the traffic lanes.
The suspension bridge was the first of it’s kind to use steel for the cable wire. The bridge is open to cars, bikes and pedestrians. Although it only spans the river of about 1500 feet, being more than a mile long and often take an hour or so to traverse mighty East River.
Just before it was scheduled to open, someone started a rumor that the bridge was going to collapse. To put the rumors to rest (and to promote his circus)The Greatest Showman, PT Barnum led a parade of 21 elephants, including his star attraction Jumbo, across the Brooklyn Bridge.
The New York Times reported on the spectacle. “At 9:30 o’clock 21 elephants, 7 camels, and 10 dromedaries issued from the ferry at the foot of Courtlandt-Street… The other elephants shuffled along, raising their trunks and snorting as every train went by. Old Jumbo brought up the rear.” It went on to observe that “To people who looked up from the river at the big arch of electric lights it seemed as if Noah’s Ark were emptying itself over on Long Island.”
Did you know that there were hidden wine cellars in the bridges towers. New York City rented out the space in order to fund it’s construction. They were eventually closed in the 1930’s, but in 1978, a faded inscription was found.
“Who loveth not wine, women and song, he remaineth a fool his whole life long.”