Queensboro Bridge celebrates its 100th anniversary of marrying the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens in 2009. Though it’s not used today nearly as much as it was in ages past, Queensboro Bridge is still one of the most photogenic in New York City.
Let’s celebrate the 100th year anniversary of a historic bridge, New York City’s “Steel Swan”! Queensboro Bridge, built in 1909, was for a while the only way to get from Queens to Manhattan, no doubt a major passage for commuters, and while the bridge isn’t quite as ingrained in the public’s mind as, say, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Queensboro Bridge has a similarly important cultural heritage—F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby that “The city seen from Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty of the world.” That’s quite an endorsement, no? Later Simon and Garfunkel would sing about it in “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” and the bridge would serve as a back drop from such diverse movies as Woody Allen’s classic film “Manhattan” to the first Spider-Man film.
The bridge is very intricate and photogenic from within and outside of it. The metal intersects at interesting angels, especially up close around the base of the structure. Pedestrians can walk across it in a narrow lane with bikers in the other lane, but don’t expect bikers to stay in their lane—in fact, they’ll probably yell at you to move even if you’re pressed up against the railing. Though I recommend walking it, it’s a very long walk, so bring some comfortable shoes!
Fun fact: the island that the bridge passes over is Roosevelt Island. There is a famous riddle which asks “What is the only New York City borough that does not have a Main Street?” to which the answer is “Manhattan,” however, this riddle leaves out poor Roosevelt Island, which many forget is actually part of Manhattan!
Though its importance in commuting from Queens to New York was largely marginalized in 1940 by the construction of the Queens-Midtown Tunnel (which relieves traffic congestion and is closer to most jobs in Manhattan than the Queensboro Bridge, which leads to a primarily residential neighborhood), it continues to make a huge impact on the culture and history of New York City a whole 100 years after its construction!