Sunday, March 29, 2009

Still Feeling Groovy at 100: Happy Birthday Queensborough Bridge

Of the three great bridges that connect the outer boroughs to Manhattan -- the Brooklyn, the Queensborough, and the Triboro -- the Queensborough Bridge is probably the overlooked middle child of the three. The Brooklyn Bridge is the one that has books written about it, and documentaries made about it, and the Triboro is probably the most impressive, but the Queensborough is, in my opinion, the coolest of the three.

So what makes the Queensborough so cool? Well, when you cross it, it provides some of the most stunning views of the city skyline you can see. As you go into Manhattan, you see the United Nations, the CitiCorp building, the Bloomberg building, the Chrysler building, and the Empire State Building towering over the city. And when you go into Queens, particularly at night, you see the gigantic signs for the Silvercup Studios and Domino Sugar factory, plus the other big CitiCorp building located in Flushing.

But what makes the Queensborough really cool in my opinion? It's the only bridge to have had both Simon and Garfunkful and F. Scott Fitzgerald write about it! "The 59th Street Bridge Song" is about, in part, the Queensborough Bridge (since you enter it in Manhattan at 59th street), and Fitzgerald sang the bridge's praises in The Great Gatsby when he wrote “The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.” (If you ever see the movie Terms of Endearment, there's a short scene where the Debra Winger character sees Manhattan for the very first time from the Queensborough Bridge and is enchanted.)

Anyway, the Queensborough is turning 100 years old tomorrow and many are debating its pros and cons. As for me, it's pros way outweigh its cons. You're still looking pretty groovy at 100.

And please note, I don't count the Manhattan Bridge as a "great" bridge, just a jolly decent one. Basically, if the Brooklyn and Triboro Bridges are John and Paul, then the Queensborough is George and the Manhattan is Ringo.


  1. Somebody hates the Williamsburg Bridge - longest suspension bridge in the world from 1903 until 1924! The umm...Mick Jagger of NYC bridges?

  2. I certainly don't hate the Williamsburg Bridge - why would I hate a bridge? Perhaps it's the 5th Beatle of the bridges.


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