Friday, May 23, 2008

125 years old and holding up well

NEW YORK -- It was so singular a marvel, so ambitious a feat, that its opening drew the president and a crowd of thousands.

A leading national magazine said it stood poised to become "our most durable monument."

Some 125 years later, the Brooklyn Bridge remains a symbol of engineering might and imagination, and an iconic landmark in the nation's largest city.

And it can still attract a crowd, like the one at the bridge's 125th birthday blowout Thursday night, which featured fireworks, a Navy flyover, a colorful new lighting scheme, a musical tribute by Oscar-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, even a birthday cake in the shape of the bridge.

The 6,000-foot-long span is one of the nation's oldest suspension bridges and among its most treasured. It opened on May 24, 1883.

Historians note its role in shaping the city: It linked Manhattan with what was then a largely rural Brooklyn, spurring growth in the more rustic borough, Schweiger said.

Brooklyn's population grew by 42% between 1880 and 1890, while Manhattan's grew about 26%, census figures show.

Building the bridge took 13 years, cost $15 million and claimed several lives, including that of its celebrated designer, John Roebling

(From the Associated Press)

No comments: