Posts Tagged ‘shipping industry 19th century New York’

The Brooklyn Bridge: not always so beloved

September 8, 2009

Well-dressed men and women circa 1890, suspended between the city of New York and the city of Brooklyn. Judging by all the smoke in the background, it looks like the camera is facing the Brooklyn side.

At the time this photo was taken, the bridge was only seven years old.


(Photo: B. Merlis)

And if the naysayers had their way, it would never have been built at all. When the “East River Bridge Project” was conceived in 1829, the sentiment was that a bridge would disturb the beauty of New York Harbor and the shipping industry that thrived there.

An editorial in The New York Mirror stated: “The mischief that would ensue, according to our view of the subject, from the erection of a bridge, would be little less than infinite.

“To allow a merchant ship to pass under it without striking her topmasts, it would be necessary to elevate it to not less than one hundred feet above the water. . . . Who would mount over such a structure, when a passage could be effected in a much shorter time, and that, too, without exertion or trouble, in a safe and well-sheltered steamboat?”