From its opening on May 24, 1883 to its designation as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972 to today, the Brooklyn Bridge has been an emblem of New York City that has attracted worldwide appeal. It is still ranked among the most famous bridges in the world and offers visitors and residents alike the chance to see some of the greatest sights on New York from a unique spot over the East River.
Uniting the Island of Manhattan with Brooklyn and Long Island, the Brooklyn Bridge is a popular spot for visitors and locals alike. Found right next to City Hall on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the bridge welcomes over 1 million visitors a year and has a storied history.
A German immigrant to America named John Augustus Roebling is the man responsible for the initial design of what, at the time, was to be called the New York and Brooklyn Bridge. Roebling, however, was injured when a ferry at the site pinned his foot against a piling. As a result, the oversight of the bridge’s construction was passed to his son, Washington Roebling. He was the principle supervisor for the 13 years it took to complete the project along with wife Emily Warren Roebling. She took over when Washington Roebling became incapacitated as a result of compression sickness acquired at the site.
When it opened on May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It held this honor by a 50% margin, which made it a must-see attraction in New York City right from the start. However, because of this title people began to doubt the structural integrity of the bridge. This caused a massive stampede which killed 12 people on May 30, 1883, less than a week after the bridge first opened. As a result, renowned circus owner P.T. Barnum offered to help. On May 17, 1884, in exchange for a nice bit of publicity, he famously marched 21 elephants across the bridge.
From the time of its opening to the present day, the Brooklyn Bridge has been a popular thoroughfare for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. On May 24, 1883 over 1,800 people and an astounding 150,300 people crossed the 5989 feet (about 1.1 miles) of the bridge’s span over the East River. Today, it is still a popular spot for local joggers and bicyclists as well as tourists to get in some exercise while also taking in some of the most stunning views of New York City both day and night.
Going to the Brooklyn Bridge is stepping into a piece of New York history. Whether it is in the heat of the day or by the impressive lights of the evening and nighttime hours, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a great way to take in a truly magnificent view of the city. The structure itself is positively stunning especially when one considers that it was created over 125 years ago.
In addition, the main walkway over the Brooklyn Bridge is split into two lanes, one for pedestrians and the other for bicyclists. This allows visitors the opportunity to take their time to enjoy the views of this amazing (and free) NYC attraction.
Why It’s a Must-See
First time bridge goers should take note that the best way to cross the Brooklyn Bridge is going from Brooklyn to Manhattan since it offers the best views of the world-famous city skyline. To do this, hop on the subway and simply take the A or C train to the High Street Station. Also, making the journey at sunrise or sunset will add an additional element of beauty and romance to the visit. But aside from the spectacular views, amazing history, and nice workout (making room for more great NYC food) taking time to visit the Brooklyn Bridge is a reminder that, even in one of the most expensive places on earth, the best things in life are often free.
Where to Buy It
1. Purchase a tour when you get there.
2. The Brooklyn Bridge is free. You can purchase a tour ticket online.
3. Purchase as part of a money saving package. Some popular examples to the right.
Money Saving Packages
The Brooklyn Bridge bike tours are featured in several tourist packages. Visit Smart Destinations to see how much you can save.
Brooklyn Bridge bike tours are included in the following money saving tourist passes: