When This Bridge Opened, It Was the Longest Suspension in the World

November 21, 1964

In New York City, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge was officially opened to traffic in a dedication ceremony attended by approximately 5,000 people. United Press International reported, “A brilliant sun shone on the 4,200-foot [1,280.7-meter] suspension span and a cold wind blew across the lower bay of the harbor as a pair of polished scissors split a ribbon on the Brooklyn side of the bridge.” Along with helping to cut the gold ribbon at the dedication ceremony, New York City Mayor Robert Wagner read a telegram from President Lyndon B. Johnson that hailed the bridge as “a structure of breathtaking beauty and superb engineering.” The bridge was named after Giovanni da Verrazzano, who in 1524 became the first European explorer to sail into New York Harbor.

The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, which carries Interstate 278 and is considered a major link in the Interstate Highway System along the Eastern Seaboard, connects the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island at a tidal strait in New York Harbor known as the Narrows. Situated at the mouth of upper New York Bay, the bridge made possible a transportation link between Staten Island and the rest of the city that went beyond just ferry service. The structure was the world’s longest suspension bridge at the time of its opening. In addition, this bridge has the longest main span in the Western Hemisphere.

For more information on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verrazzano-Narrows_Bridge.

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