Just in Time for a New Year . . . The Opening of the Manhattan Bridge

December 31, 1909

New York City’s Manhattan Bridge, which crosses over the East River and links Lower Manhattan at Canal Street with Brooklyn at the Flatbush Avenue Extension, was officially opened to traffic. This structure joined the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges as the suspension bridges carrying traffic over the lower East River. 

At the time of the Manhattan Bridge’s debut, only two of its roadways and the promenade had been completed; the remainder of structure was finished by 1912. The New Year’s Eve opening of the Manhattan Bridge took place with relatively little fanfare.

On what was his final full day as New York City’s mayor, George B. McClellan, Jr. (the son and namesake of a Union Army general and U.S. presidential candidate during the Civil War) joined other public officials in traveling across the bridge in automobiles. Many of those public officials then attended a luncheon over on the Brooklyn side. 

Along with carrying vehicular traffic, the Manhattan Bridge has served as a route for such means of transportation as subway cars, trolleys, and bicycles. The bridge also features a pedestrian walkway that was reopened after 40 years in 2001. About a century after its opening, the Manhattan Bridge was designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers. 

For more information on the Manhattan Bridge, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Bridge

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