The magic of the Queensboro Bridge at night

The Queensboro bridge was only one year old when Impressionist painter Julian Alden Weir depicted it and the surrounding cityscape in muted blue, green, and gold tones in “The Bridge: Nocturne.”


It’s not clear what street is lit so bright here, but it hardly matters.

The bridge is like a mountain poking out of the fog, looking down on the rest of the city, which appears miniaturized. Few pedestrians go about their way on the rain-slicked pavement, and random lights from store signs and office windows glow in the nighttime sky.

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14 Responses to “The magic of the Queensboro Bridge at night”

  1. Penelope Bianchi Says:

    Completely gorgeous! this needs to be in an exhibition! Help!!! Where? Museum of the C
    ity of New York???

  2. shop Says:

    Reblogged this on Espiou Magazine.

  3. westendstorie Says:

    It s sooo amazing ♥

  4. prgtrdr Says:

    I’ve been told that due to City Hall corruption the Queensboro Ed Koch Bridge (let’s use the correct name) was constructed with far more steel girders than were required by the designers/engineers. The steel vendors were able to convince the city to buy much more than necessary. Has anyone ever heard this story or be able to shed some light on it, or debunk it?

  5. A.B. Nickerson Says:

    Reblogged this on the Fusionists' Journal.

  6. Cynthia Vega Says:

    Remember we talked of walking across this one night?

    On Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 1:32 AM, Ephemeral New York wrote:

    > ephemeralnewyork posted: “The Queensboro bridge was only one year old > when Impressionist painter Julian Alden Weir depicted it and the > surrounding cityscape in muted blue, gray, and gold in “The Bridge: > Nocturne.” It’s not clear what street is lit so bright here, but it hardly > “

  7. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    …and who could not help but become completely entranced by the haunting lovliness of a painting like this! It is enchanting.

    The hint-of-the-bridge in the background was also known as the “59th Street Bridge.’ It was the inspiration for a jaunty melody in the last half of the 20th Century by Simon & Garfunkle.

    There is a tantalizing tale told on former-Mayor Ed Koch on the day the bridge was ‘double-named’ with HIS name being added. The gregarious gent was so genuinely giddy at the honor, he strode to the center of the bridge’s entry area and started windmill-waving at the vehicles approaching the bridge. ‘Hizzoner’ then shouted at those with their vehicle-windows down: “Welcome! Welcome to MY bridge!”

    Don’t you love it – don’t you simply love it!

  8. Velvethead Says:

    You would think well lit street would be 57th Street. What intrigues me is what building is that in the upper left of the painting that appears to have Doric like columns on the upper floors, much like the Helmsley Bldg.

  9. Bill Harts Says:

    I’ve been spending a little time investigating the question of where this was painted from. It appears that the artist was facing east on 58th Street between Park Avenue and Madison Avenue, probably from the roof of a building on the south side of the street. This would locate the bright light as coming from a building on the south side of 58th Street between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue, probably a theater. Why do I think so?

    Around the same time, Weir did a very similar painting, “The Plaza: Nocturne” facing west on the same block. In that painting you can see the steeple of the since-demolished Madison Avenue Reformed Church (on the southwest corner of 57th and Madison) in the foreground and the southwest corner of the Plaza Hotel (58th Street and 5th Avenue) in the background.

    My guess is that he liked the view from the roof and positioned himself in different locations to capture various sights.

    Both these paintings are in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum. The link is

    The one thing I haven’t figured out yet is what the building (probably at 59th and Park Avenue) with the columns is (or was.) Can anybody help?

  10. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    Regarding the ‘Doric Columns’ presented in the left are of the painting – one must remember that alas, not all buildings survive – no matter how well built / designed / or appreciated! Possibly it is not remembered as it has been gone too long and was not too well known at the time it was felled.

    I would like to know the source of the loooooooong, bright light almost in the center of the painting. Is that a single, elongated window (which would have been an oddity for the time) or a sign or what?

    There is also a question about ‘artistic license.’ This ‘technique’ is oft incorporated to make a scene more balanced and attractive as opposed to an accurate representation (within the bounds of an Impressionistic style!)

    **ON A DIFFERENT MATTER — I also looked up the artist’s gravestone. It was a somewhat standard marker without any specific touches to indicate the final resting place of an artist; It was simply a design in the fashion of his era…

  11. A glorious 1914 tower symbolizes the united city | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] disrespect to the former mayor, but like the Queensboro Bridge becoming the Ed Koch Bridge, it doesn’t quite roll off the […]

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