The back of this postcard, printed before the bridge approach on the Manhattan side was actually completed (which explains why it looks a lot prettier than the real Manhattan Bridge approach and the streets surrounding it), reads: “The plaza and arch are similar to the Porte St. Denis in Paris, and colonnade similar in effect to that of St. Peter’s in Rome.”
Who knew bridge engineers had such grand architectural models in mind?
The bridge opened in 1909. Interestingly, its cables were designed by the same guy who designed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State. You know that one—it swung in the wind and eventually snapped in 1940.