Happy Birthday Brooklyn Bridge

May 24 is the anniversary of the 1883 opening of the Brooklyn Bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn across the East River. At the time, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge was seen as a great human achievement, resulting in the longest suspension bridge by more than 50% over any existing bridge. Well over a century later, it is still beautiful and fun to walk across.

The bridge has appeared in a number of movies, such as Moonstruck (1987), The Siege (1998), Godzilla (1998), and I Am Legend (2007).

Despite the Brooklyn Bridge’s iconic status, the Manhattan Bridge has stolen some of the more classic New York bridge movie scenes. That bridge is featured in classic scenes in Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1979)) and in Once Upon a Time in America (1984).

The Brooklyn Bridge still has a pretty good movie record, and you may also check it out online with a live videocam. The bridge also appears in songs. For example, Frank Sinatra sang the song, “The Brooklyn Bridge.” Similarly, the bridge recently appeared in Lee Dewyze’s jazzy “Brooklyn Bridge.”

Below is Sinatra’s “The Brooklyn Bridge,” which was written by Sammy Cahn. The song was recorded for the movie It Happened in Brooklyn (1947), which also features Sinatra on the Bridge. The song was released as a B-side in 1947.

For more about the Brooklyn Bridge and its historical significance, a History Channel documentary in their Modern Marvels series tells the story of the bridge. [2015 Update: Unfortunately, that video is no longer available on YouTube, but below is a preview for the Ken Burns documentary about the bridge.]

If you prefer a much shorter video, you can check out another one that has 10 Amazing Facts About the Brooklyn Bridge.

Photo of Brooklyn Bridge in 1899 via Brooklyn Museum. What is your favorite image of Brooklyn Bridge? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Brooklyn Bridge”

    1. Happy birthday to the bridge, bob dylan, and my dear DH. How do you know when a bridge is born, when it is completed and being used or when you break ground on it?

      1. Good question. It seems for building structures, the celebration is saved for the anniversary of the date the object opened, and that is the case here. On May 24, 1883, President Chester Alan Arthur and New York Gov. Grover Cleveland dedicated the bridge as it was opened to the public.

        John Augustus Roebling, the civil engineer who designed the Brooklyn Bridge, was not there for the opening because he had died in 1869 from complications from an injury he sustained while surveying the bridge’s progress. More information about Roebling, and the work done by his son and the son’s wife to finish the bridge, is discussed here: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/jun12.html

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