“The lovely span of the Williamsburg Bridge”

This Williamsburg Bridge postcard looks like it depicts the bridge when it was built in 1903. Perhaps it hasn’t opened, since there’s no traffic.

It was the same bridge that captivated Francie Nolan, the dreamy, imaginative protagonist from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which tells the story of a poor Williamsburg family around 1910.

“Johnny took Francie up on the roof. She saw a whole new world. Not far away was the lovely span of the Williamsburg Bridge. Across the East River, like a fairy city made of silver cardboard, the skyscrapers loomed cleanly.”

Later, as a teenager who had to quit school to work in Manhattan, Francie is disappointed by the bridge.

“Looking at it from the roof of her house, she had thought that crossing it would make her feel like a gossamer-winged fairy flying through the air. But the actual ride over the bridge was no different than the ride above the Brooklyn streets.

“The bridge was paved in sidewalks and traffic roads like the streets of Broadway and the tracks were the same tracks.”

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4 Responses to ““The lovely span of the Williamsburg Bridge””

  1. Nancy Says:

    I adore this book- thanks for reminidng me about it!

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    It’s one of mine too. A thoughtful, unsentimental New York story.

  3. Peter Rad Says:

    Does anyone know what that mossy stuff is supposed to be in the postcard pic? It hanging on the cantilever span of the bridge as well as floating in the east river.

    Birds? Kelp (!)

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    It’s glitter–I guess it’s supposed to give the postcard a more festive feel. I understand why it’s on the span but it seems odd for it to be in the water.

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