Cultural Icons Student: Radu Iulia II nd year, Anglo-American Studies

BROOKLYN BRIDGE. New York city • What do you associate Brooklyn Bridge with? •Why it has an iconic status? .

who patented in 1841 the low carbon iron wire rope. Since its opening.BROOKLYN BRIDGE. and cartoons. The bridge has been a common element of popular culture— on magazines and postcards and in comic books. . Its image has embellished all kinds of tourist souvenirs.3 m. The Brooklyn Bridge was initially designed by German immigrant John Augustus Roebling. it has become an icon of New York City. It was completed in 1883. television programs. NEW YORK CITY    The Brooklyn Bridge is located in New York City and it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn with a main span of 486. films. advertisements. and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

000. Before any further progress could be made. The estimated cost was $1. the Great Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. For 16 years the press would alternatively refer to the project as the East River Bridge. and the City of Brooklyn $3 million. NEW YORK CITY BUILDING PHASES:    In 1859 Roebling proposed two 800-foot suspension spans linked over the island by a 500-foot cantilever. Then came the Civil War. .200.BROOKLYN BRIDGE.5 million capital investment. The City of New York was allowed to make a $1. The motto of the bridge from the great opening was “Two Cities As One”. the project was shelved because of economic depression. near the site of the present-day Queensboro Bridge.

acting in compression. Roebling called those towers the “most conspicuous features”) that rise close to either shore of the river. pass over the towers and hang in the curve that cables naturally assume when suspended from two points between them.THE STRUCTURE  The four main suspension cables. Above the waterline the towers are built of granite. That frees the towers from horizontal forces. continuous from anchorage to anchorage. They have been called “gothic” (by others but never by John Roebling).” and diagonal stays stabilize it against wind loads. they transmit the self-weight of the structure and any live loads to the foundations. The colossal anchorages resist the forces in the main cables. . The steel-framed bridge deck hangs from those cables on vertical “suspenders.

while John Roebling was locating the Brooklyn tower. On July 6.A BRIDGE MADE BY THE ROEBLINGS   The story of the bridge begins in tragedy. Washington Augustus Roebling was just 32 years old when he succeeded his father as chief engineer of “the most prestigious [engineering project] of the continent and of the age. he was partially paralyzed. In the summer of 1872 he was carried out of the Manhattan caisson. hardly able to speak. . The injured toes were immediately amputated— he refused anaesthetic—but (perhaps because he insisted upon hydrotherapy over conventional medical treatment) tetanus followed. and beginning to go blind. a ferryboat collided with the slip on which he stood. deaf. 1869. Washington had worked off and on in the family business since graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1857.” Certainly it was the most ambitious bridge that America had ever seen. By the year’s end. crushing his right foot against the piling. He died on July 22.

it has been floodlit at night to highlight its architectural features. Under her husband's guidance. . Emily studied higher mathematics. it was the longest suspension bridge in the world—50% longer than any previously built—and it has become a treasured landmark. He was aided by his wife Emily Warren Roebling who provided the critical written link between her husband and the engineers on site. On that first day. and for several years. Since the 1980s.800 vehicles and 150. a total of 1. At the time it opened. the strengths of materials and bridge specifications.300 people crossed what was then the only land passage between Manhattan and Brooklyn. the calculations of catenary curves. designing and redesigning caissons and other equipment.   Roebling conducted the entire construction from his apartment with a view of the work. Emily Warren Roebling was the first to cross the bridge with a rooster as a symbol of victory.

The bridge. . carries approximately 145. one can see the community below and seek greater abstract meaning from his viewpoint. the landmark structure has been refurbished to handle the traffic demands during its second century. After nearly 120 years.000 vehicles per day. In recent decades. which is very close to the Red Hook community. intellectual American culture. is a constant reminder of American opportunity and industry. The bridge allows people to cross into Manhattan and into modern. which now accommodates six lanes of automobile traffic.THE BRIDGE AS A SYMBOL   The Brooklyn Bridge is symbolic of a pathway of opportunity to Manhattan and also the linkage between American and European cultures (immigrants). From the bridge. the bridge still has the 44th longest main span among the world's suspension bridges. The bridge.

New York: Dover. 1983.  Shapiro. London: Greenwood Press. A Picture History of the Brooklyn Bridge: With 167 Prints and Photographs.REFERENCES: Langmead Donald. 1993.   INTERNET SOURCES Brooklyn Bridge website.html .com/gf/buildings/bbridge/bbridge. Mary J.endex. www. From the Alamo to the World Trade Center. Icons of American architecture.