Designed by Leon Moisseiff, construction the Manhattan Bridge began in 1901. It partially opened in 1909 and construction was fully complete by 1912. The last of the four over-the-water East River crossings completed, the Manhattan Bridge is 6,855 feet long and 120 feet wide. It’s longest span is 1,480 feet and suspended by 3,224 feet of suspension cables. Over 70,000 cars pass over it each day in seven lanes of traffic. The bridge also has four subway tracks, a pedestrian lane and east/west lanes for bicycles.Interesting fact: The designer, Leon Moisseiff, was a suspension bridge engineer who also designed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge at Puget Sound, Washington. Check out this video to see why that should scare the crap out of you. In fact, up until the 1950s when the city spent $30,000,000 to fix it, the Manhattan Bridge would dip as much as three feet each time a subway passed over it. Yikes! We’re gonna go ahead and label that a good investment.
If you ride a bike over the East River in between the chosen boroughs, the Manhattan Bridge is a far easier and less treacherous passage than the Brooklyn Bridge where you are pretty much guaranteed to plow into (or nearly do) some unsuspecting camera wielding vacationer from Waxahachi. Also, you get a great view through the chain link fence of the graffiti on the rooftops of the Lower East Side!
I needed to get from Park Slope to the East Village quickly for my open houses today, so Greg suggested I try the Manhattan Bridge on my bike. It was a great ride: 6,855 feet of smooth bridge, with no cars to contend with! It was door to door in just under a half hour, and there’s also plenty of local color to enjoy along the way, as always.