5 Beautiful Bridges in New York City

5 Beautiful Bridges in New York City

This past week, over on my Facebook page, I’ve been featuring shots I’ve taken of bridges in New York City.

On Monday, I began with the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge:

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at sunset in July, with Shore Park in the foreground.

The VerrazanoNarrows Bridge was built in the early 1960s, to connect Brooklyn and Staten Island. At the time it was built, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world (just as the Brooklyn Bridge had been). Before it was built, the only way for Staten Island residents to get to the city was to use the Staten Island Ferry, or drive into New Jersey and take one of the Hudson River crossings.

While I wouldn’t say it’s NYC’s most beautiful bridge, it certainly does have a beauty and a charm all its own.

I took this shot from the park that runs along the Belt Parkway. Depending on the time of year, you can catch the sunset on the Brooklyn side (as I did here), or on the Staten Island side of the bridge.

Tuesday’s shot was of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge with the Tribute In Light memorial to the victims of the September 11 attacks in the background. Taken in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Built in the 1870s and 1880s, it was an engineering marvel of its time, and when built, was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Today, it’s a national landmark and one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city, in addition to being a vital transport link between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The Brooklyn Bridge is, by far, the most famous and most photographed bridge in the city. You’d be hard pressed, I think, to find a person in the US who could not identify the bridge when shown a picture of it. There are many great places from which to shoot the bridge — Brooklyn Bridge Park, southern Manhattan, standing on the bridge itself and others. Sometimes, it’s a bit of a challenge to find a new and unique way to photograph it.

Last September 11, when the city put up the Towers of Light memorial in honor of the victims of the terrorist attacks of 2001, I was in Brooklyn Bridge Park to shoot the lights. After I got the shot I wanted, I wandered around the park. At some point, I noticed that the towers of the bridge intersected with the towers of light, and I could not resist taking the shot. In the end, I do believe that it offers a very different view of the bridge than most people see and expect.

On Wednesday, we looked at the Manhattan Bridge

The Manhattan Bridge at Sunset, with the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline in the background.

The Manhattan Bridge was the last of the three lower East River bridge crossings, opening in 1909, after the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges. The bridge’s walkway was closed for over forty years before being reopened in 2001.

This shot of the Manhattan Bridge at sunset was taken from Brooklyn Bridge Park. I decided to utilize the rocks as a leading line, guiding the eye of the viewer straight to the bridge. In the background, you can see the Brooklyn Bridge as well as a portion of the NYC skyline.

On Thursday, our focus was on the George Washington Bridge

Of all the bridges connecting Manhattan to other bodies of land (and there are about twenty or so of them), the George Washington Bridge is the only one on the west side of the island. Built in 1931, the bridge, like the Brooklyn Bridge before it and the Verazzano Narrow Bridge after it, was the longest bridge in the world when it opened. It proved so popular that a second (lower) deck was added to the bridge in 1962.

Today, the bridge is the most traveled bridge in the US (and possibly, but I could not confirm it, in the world) with over 300,000 people crossing it daily.

This shot of the bridge was taken a few weeks ago from Fort Washington Park. Many people have seen standard shots of the bridge, but I wanted to go for something a bit different — so I tried to get the underside of the bridge, right by sunset. This was the result.

And on Friday, we went with a non-vehicular bridge, the Bow Bridge in Central Park

Finishing up “NYC Bridges Week” here at The Graceful Image, we have a reminder that not all of NYC’s bridges are huge spans of metal running thousands of feet that are meant to carry cars and trucks from one boro to another. Some of the bridges are meant purely for pedestrian traffic and aesthetic beauty. This one only runs 60 feet, but it is unmistakably as much a part of NYC culture as any of the other bridges I’ve featured this week.

The Bow Bridge, in Central Park, is one of the most popular features of the park. Designed by Calvert Vaux, (one of the designers of Central Park) and Jacob Wrey Mould, it is a popular place for romantic walks, photographers, people taking a stroll, and just about anyone who wants to appreciate the beauty of the Lake in the park.

Believe it or not, when the park was first being planned, the designers requested a suspension bridge, but eventually, they settled on the design that we have today.

I took this shot of the Bow Bridge back in October 2015 (in fact, I shot it on my birthday). I love the late fall, when nature gives us a wonderful nature show and Central Park just lights up with a wonderful chromatic display.