Blue and white tiles line the Queensboro Bridge

New York City’s many bridges are frequently praised for their beauty.

But The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge (yep, the former mayor’s name was officially added in 2011) might be the most lovely.

The cantilever span itself is graceful and elegant, of course. But what sets the Queensboro apart might be the smaller design motifs and decoration the bridge architects insisted on before it officially opened in 1909.

Among these are the decorative lampposts at the entrance to the bridge, and vaulted, Cathedral-like ceilings lined with famous Guastavino tiles under the Manhattan-side bridge approach, the commercial space known as Bridgemarket.

Then there are the blue and white tiles built in to the facade under the bridge approach on First Avenue. They could be terra cotta; I’m not quite sure.

The circles and rectangles on each individual tile weave a spectacular pattern covering large swaths of the bridge approach.

But if you don’t look for them as you walk under the approach, you might miss out on this wonderful decorative touch that appears to exist entirely to charm pedestrians.

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8 Responses to “Blue and white tiles line the Queensboro Bridge”

  1. Bruce Says:

    Oh, I thought maybe it was named after Ed Koch because he had something to do with designing the bridge. (haha)

  2. Marilyn Says:

    I have passed this bridge often, but never noticed the tilework. Thx

  3. Walk About New York Says:

    Lovely detail. Thanks for pointing this and many others around the Big Apple.

  4. Timothy Grier Says:

    A very attractive bridge indeed! I never heard of it referred to as the Queensboro Bridge while growing up in NYC in the 50s and 60s. Everyone (including Simon & Garfunkel) called it the 59th Street Bridge.

  5. Kiwiwriter Says:

    I have to see these…I walked across the bridge and back during the 1980 Transit strike, when it was re-opened to pedestrians.

    When I got to Sunnyside Yards and realized there wasn’t much to do, I thought, “I’ll head back to my father’s office at 59th and Lexington, use the little boy’s room, and we can go home together.”

    I turn to do just that, and there he is…walking towards me, with a big grin on his face. He had used the same idea to deliver some advertisements he’d dreamed up to a client in Sunnyside. So we went to the client and then walked home over the bridge.

  6. A gorgeous mosaic fountain hiding on First Avenue | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] examples: the original lamppost dating back to the bridge’s opening in 1909, and the blue and white tiles on a First Avenue ramp leading to the […]

  7. The soaring, stunning vaulted ceilings of an East Side Trader Joe’s | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] the new Trader Joe’s that recently opened in the cavernous space under the Queensboro Bridge at 59th Street and First Avenue offers a reason to look not at the shelves but high up at the […]

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