Wednesday, 30 December 2020

New York City Landmarks No. 3 - Brooklyn Bridge

When it opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world - a distinction it would hold for 20 years.  It spans the East River and links Manhattan with the borough of Brooklyn.  Design and construction was a family affair - John Roebling was the designer, his son, Washington was the project manager and his wife, Emily Warren Roebling, supplied additional design work.  The granite and limestone towers, each with twin gothic arch piercings went up first, followed by the cable work - constant technical details prolonged the construction to a total of 13 years.  Lengthy approach viaducts were needed to raise the roadway to the deck level, itself elevated to allow for the free passage of ocean going shipping.

Visually striking for the grandeur of scale and for the contrast between the delicate cable stays and the massive presence of the two towers, the bridge rapidly became a source of fascination to graphic artists and painters. Artists from all over the US and beyond felt the need to record their impressions of this stupendous structure. Georgia O’Keefe, Joseph Stella, John Marin, Richard Estes, Albert Gleizes, and C R W Nevinson. For the editors of the New Yorker, the bridge is one of the most powerful and emblematic symbols of the city to go by the frequency with which it appears on the front cover 


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