View Full Version : Queensboro (59th Street) Bridge

January 31st, 2002, 02:47 PM
Recent addition to Wired New York: Queensborough Bridge (http://www.wirednewyork.com/bridges/queensborough_bridge/default.htm)





February 1st, 2002, 07:51 AM
I remember using the pedestrian walkway in 1996, but I couldn't do it last year.
Are pedestrians still allowed on the bridge ?
I really want to go back there, the view on the TWT must be fantastic...

(Edited by Fabb at 7:52 am on Feb. 1, 2002)

February 1st, 2002, 12:00 PM
In 1996 the pedestrian walkway was on the South side of the Queensborough Bridge. After the recent renovations they have additional car lane on that side, and the pedestrian walkway is on the North side. So you don't really have any good view of the Trump World Tower or anything on the South side of the bridge.

February 3rd, 2002, 10:05 AM
Is the thing in the second picture that seems to be "hanging" under the bridge the Roosevelt Island Tramway?

February 3rd, 2002, 11:43 AM
Yes, it is. The Roosevelt Island station of the tram is directly ahead, under the bridge. See this thread (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=24) for a picture.

February 6th, 2002, 05:58 PM
I first saw the tram in the movie "The Professional".
Why did they build the tram instead of a bridge? I know there's a bridge connecting to the other side, but *not from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island.

January 23rd, 2005, 02:20 AM
November 24, 2002

Bridge Spanning the East River, With a Sense of Drama


THE Queensboro Bridge, begun in 1901, was one of New York City's most dramatic construction projects. Its vast steel frame is gradually cantilevered out from huge masonry piers across the East River, connecting Manhattan and Queens over Roosevelt — then known as Blackwell's — Island.

A project to clean and repair the bridge's six colossal stone piers, which were part of its lost network of pedestrian accommodations, is to begin next year.

The original plan used a bare-bones design, but after work started, a new commissioner of bridges, the engineer Gustav Lindenthal, hired the architect Henry Hornbostel in 1902 to create structural elements that would be more appropriate for a great public work. Usually, the magazine Architecture observed in 1903, "the engineer makes the design, hands it to the architect to add a lantern or two, makes it fancy, and the artistic conscience of the interested community is at rest."

But in this case Hornbostel reworked the original, giving it elliptical entrance portals, Art Nouveau-influenced crowning finials and related ornamentation, as well as dome-topped masonry towers. Unlike the city's earlier suspension spans, the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges, the new Blackwell's Island Bridge, as it was first called, was erected by cantilevering steel sections out from support towers on land.

When Rudolph Knorr, a Cornish-born workman, put in the last rivet at 3:33 p.m. on March 19, 1908, a bottle of champagne was broken over the final beam.

That September, Queens businessmen petitioned to have the name changed officially to the Queensboro Bridge. The New York Times wrote that influential property owners in Manhattan and Queens objected to the name Blackwell's Island Bridge because certain city buildings on Blackwell's Island made that name "unpleasantly suggestive of a penal institution and a poorhouse."

One businessman, E. J. Rickert, said: "It is distinctly a Queens Borough bridge, and is should have been so designated in the first place." The article did not discuss why the shorter form, Queensboro, was chosen.

But various Irish-American societies opposed the choice of Queensboro, which they thought sounded too British. Bernard McLaughlin, an original promoter of the bridge, said, "There is a deplorable fashion in this country of giving English names to American institutions." He added that the borough of Queens, not the bridge, needed a name change. He suggested "Montauk or some other good American name."

According to Jeffrey Kroessler, president of the Queensborough Preservation League and author of "New York Year by Year: a Chronology of the Great Metropolis" (N.Y.U. Press, 2002), there is no evidence that Queens, named in 1683 when the province of New York was divided into 10 counties, was named for a particular queen. Some have argued, however, that the borough was named in honor of Catherine of Braganza, who was born in Portugal and married King Charles II of England in 1662.

The Queensboro name — which had been in occasional use since 1899, before the bridge went up — won out, and on March 30, 1909, the new $12 million span opened. There were 235 applications from people who sought to be the first to jump from the bridge — 168 from professional bridge jumpers, 34 from inventors with devices to test, 9 would-be suicides and 24 unemployed men who thought the gesture would improve their chances of work.

They were all disappointed, because the hundreds watching from the roofs and windows of the tenements surrounding the bridge in Manhattan saw it open to a stampede of runners from athletic clubs, of whom the first was Alfred Lehnhardt, 18, of Manhattan and the Olivet Athletic Club. Among the first vehicles across was a farm wagon returning to Queens; a few hours earlier, it had carried produce into Manhattan on the 34th Street ferry. Far below, convicts in the penitentiary on Blackwell's Island pressed their faces to the barred windows of their cells. They had watched the 3,724 1/2-foot-long bridge grow, day by day.

The bridge design provided for two decks, the upper with two outside footwalks and an interior double rail line to connect with the Second Avenue elevated, the lower with a vehicle roadway and four trolley tracks, including a special shuttle line that, in Manhattan, made a loop under the bridge's plaza on Second Avenue.

Hornbostel was proud of the spiky metalwork on top of the "gaily-capped" steel towers, as he described them in the magazine Architecture in 1909. Their fantastic, slightly sinister wavy shapes in riveted steel evoke Jules Verne's submarine the Nautilus in his book "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." Traffic on each side of the bridge was disgorged without benefit of any formal plaza, although one of the 18-foot-high bronze lanterns designed by Hornbostel at the Manhattan end has somehow survived the continuous widenings made for increased auto traffic.

In July 1910 a letter in The Times signed "A Constant Reader" complained about a lack of benches for the "hundreds of children with their parents trying for air" on the stifling summer nights, an indication that the bridge was not solely used for vehicles.

Indeed the two dome-topped anchorages housed elevators and stairs for pedestrians who needed access closer to the shorelines in Queens and Manhattan. A 1916 tally listed 705,000 pedestrians per year, as against 20 million rail passengers and 3.5 million vehicles. In 2000 the yearly tally was 289,000 pedestrians and cyclists, and 66 million vehicles.

IN 1912 one prisoner tried to add to the pedestrian statistics. David D. Lewis, a clergyman, was at the Blackwell's Island penitentiary serving a one-year term for fraud. Slipping away from a work detail, he used a maintenance cable to clamber up to the bridge deck while under fire from prison guards below.

But he was captured by two policemen on bicycles. The Times reported that friends of prisoners often dropped food and clothes from the bridge.

Because Manhattan-bound traffic arrived at Second Avenue without the benefit of a grand colonnade like that at the Williamsburg Bridge, a change was proposed in 1913: the demolition of the entire block between 59th and 60th Streets from Second to Third Avenue, and its replacement by a formal garden with temple-like structures camouflaging the elevated lines. But the plan was never realized.

In 1931, Edward A. MacDougall, a prominent Queens real estate figure, called for another bridge crossing at 86th Street, saying that the saturation level for the Queensboro would be reached in 1937. But some room was made for increased vehicle traffic by adding a series of new approaches, north and south, and ending trolley and elevated service across the bridge.

In 1960, eight elegant, 70-foot-high flagpoles, part of Hornbostel's design, were removed from the bridge's towers after years of inadequate maintenance. When flags flew from them, it must have been an inspiring sight, but The Times reported that the practice was discontinued after World War II — it took several hours a day to raise and lower them.

Now the Department of Transportation is planning a $3 million rehabilitation of the six massive piers in Manhattan and Queens. The project, designed by Walter B. Melvin Architects and Parsons Transportation Group, is to begin next year. In addition to cleaning and repairing the exterior stonework, the interior stairways will be rehabilitated; the elevators were removed long ago.

A recent visitor walking up the stairs of the white-glazed-brick shaftway at 60th Street in Manhattan alarmed the pigeons who nest there, as well as a couple of friendly homeless men who live peacefully on a mezzanine near the top level, with the traffic roaring past.

The open iron stairway makes for a giddy ascent, about seven floors high and protected only by light wire caging on one side. But the modern walker in the city will not soon experience it — the work is being undertaken for the convenience of bridge workers, and the rehabilitated stairways will not be open to the public.

The narrow bicycle/pedestrian lane on the north side of the bridge's lower deck is not nearly so elegant as the original pair of upper deck pedestrian walks. But even with the deafening traffic, it offers sweeping views to the north and south, with the swirling whorls of the East River far below, and the huge iron matrix of the bridge above.

Copyright The New York Times Company

July 10th, 2005, 06:22 PM
Finally getting a paint job.

August 22nd, 2005, 10:41 AM
NY Newsday


Restoration on the rive


August 22, 2005

Like many an aging beauty, the Queensboro Bridge is getting a facelift.

Distinctive white cocoons have sprouted over the century-old span's steel arches. And the hum of power tools now mingles with the roar of passing traffic.

It's all part of a major rehabilitation of the city-owned bridge over the East River, expected to cost about $200 million and end in late 2008.

Distinctive white tents allow workers to blast away lead-based paint without releasing the toxic chemical into the air. After the paint is removed from the bridge's 5.5 million square feet of steel, it will be replaced with three layers of a lead-free coat. Elsewhere, crews are tackling a series of minor projects on the bridge, which measures about 1 1/2 mile: building a fence along the pedestrian walkway, replacing aviation lights and power-washing the brick piers.

Along Second Avenue, they are rehabilitating a landmark kiosk where tickets were sold from 1909 to 1957 for the trolley that at one time clacked over the span. The tidy shack features Guastavino tiling, but has been steadily banged up by wayward motorists. To prevent future damage, a fence of sturdy bollards will be installed.

An estimated 190,000 vehicles cross the Queensboro, also called the 59th Street Bridge, each day, making it the busiest East River crossing. Because of its importance, there will be no bridge closures - just occasional shutdowns of certain lanes, said Henry D. Perahia, chief bridge officer for the city Department of Transportation. "We can't close the bridge," he said.

Getting the lead out

Workers are firing an abrasive grit at the bridge to blast off rust and lead paint. They are doing this in special tents designed to keep the toxic substance from escaping - if the tent is punctured, air is drawn into the tent until it can be plugged with a special foam. Once cleared the bridge will be painted in two colors: Queensboro brown and mesa tan. Cost of clearing and repainting: $168 million.

New lighting

Lighting along the upper and lower roadways will be replaced with high-pressure sodium lights, and the red aviation lights atop the towers will be replaced.

Ticket to ride

From 1909 to 1957 a trolley crossed the bridge, and tickets were sold at this kiosk on the Manhattan side. $750,000 will be spent to restore the landmark and protect it from traffic with a fence.

Brick piers

The masonry supporting the bridge will be treated to the high-powered steam wash. (The lower part of this pier has been washed: the upper remains stained.)

For the crossing

A fence is being installed along the pedestrian walkway (to keep people from throwing things off), and the surface on the north upper roadway will be replaced.

August 24th, 2005, 12:42 AM
It's a shame the trolleys that ran over the bridge are now buses. The underground trolley terminal is still there.

TLOZ Link5
October 18th, 2005, 06:06 PM
Are they going to replace the bulbs in the ornate lamp at the south corner of the Manhattan onramp?

Not only that, are they going to ever install a replica of the lamp that used to be on the opposite side of the onramp?

December 20th, 2005, 10:50 PM
how do u get to the 59th street bridge from 30 ave?

August 21st, 2006, 04:13 PM
In 1996 the pedestrian walkway was on the South side of the Queensborough Bridge. After the recent renovations they have additional car lane on that side, and the pedestrian walkway is on the North side. So you don't really have any good view of the Trump World Tower or anything on the South side of the bridge.

I would love to paint that Last Picture of the three posted on the opening thread, and I would love permission to use the last photo as a refference. Is there anyway you could let me know or contact me about that? I don't want to step on any toes!


Peter (in Toronto Canada)

Family Bridge
January 30th, 2007, 05:37 PM
My great grandfather, my grandfather and my father all worked on the Queenboro Bridge. My great grandfather was an ironworker on the original construction.

I have the bell from the last trolley that ran across the bridge.

On March 30, 2009, the bridge will be 100 years old.

Many stories to tell and much to share--old photos, too.

January 30th, 2007, 08:19 PM
I've rode the QBridge a couple of times going to St. Johns University in Jamaica for the lack of toll (im cheap like that)!
The view coming BACK from Queens is absolutely breathtaking. The skyscapers look like perfectly placed neat blocks with thousands of lights to emanate them. ABSOLUTE gorgeous view.

January 31st, 2007, 03:50 AM
Heres my favourite picture of the bridge, with the Silvercup sign from Highlander in the distance.

May 28th, 2010, 10:31 AM
Does anyone know, are school buses allowed to travel on the upper deck of the 59th Street Bridge, or are only cars allowed to travel on the top deck?

December 9th, 2010, 07:20 AM
Bridge and Tunnel Types


The Queensboro Bridge as seen from the Manhattan side, soon to be renamed in honor
of a former New York mayor, Edward I. Koch.

Take a date to the Brooklyn Bridge for spectacular views and a romantic stroll. Take a drive in the Lincoln Tunnel and prepare for a cramped, crawling trip to New Jersey.
The Queensboro Bridge is the iconic set piece of Woody Allen’s “Manhattan,” perhaps the most romantic portrayal of New York ever set to celluloid. The Holland Tunnel had its Hollywood moment, too: “Daylight,” a Sylvester Stallone disaster film that imagines the thing destroyed by diamond thieves.

Both types of crossings represent humanity’s ingenuity and ambition, engineering wonders that unite Manhattan to the other boroughs and points beyond. And yet the miracles that shepherd thousands of cars at high speeds underwater through New York City do not conjure quite the same devotion as their above-ground, more architecturally pleasing cousins.

“A bridge is in the sky; a bridge has poetry — even the ugliest bridge has a following,” observed Mitchell L. Moss, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University. “But a tunnel? A tunnel is much more mechanical. A tunnel is all about moving fast. Tunnels are something you get through, not something you experience.”

Mr. Moss was asked to ponder the larger sociological meaning of these two urban conveyances on Wednesday, after the news that a pair of the city’s lifeblood arteries are to be renamed in honor of two towering New York politicians.

The soaring Queensboro Bridge will soon bear the name of Edward I. Koch, the former mayor and amateur movie critic; Hugh L. Carey, the former governor from Brooklyn, is poised to see his name on the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, the near-invisible underground passageway perhaps best known from its cameo as the headquarters of the “Men in Black.”

So, should Mr. Carey feel less than groovy? Not according to Robert Polner, who co-wrote a biography of the former governor, “The Man Who Saved New York,” that was published this year.

“He is a stubborn character, and a bulwark of sorts,” Mr. Polner said of Mr. Carey. “In some ways, something like the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, which seems immovable, seems fitting.”

Like Mr. Carey, who saved the city from financial ruin in the 1970s, the tunnel “holds back the floods, it holds back the waters,” Mr. Polner said. And he deemed the tunnel’s self-sustaining toll system appropriate for a governor known for fiscal reform.

Still, even Mr. Polner acknowledged that the tunnel, which has the least traffic of all the major city crossings, was not as powerful a symbol as its neighbor to the north.
“I think anyone would rather be named for the Brooklyn Bridge than the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel,” Mr. Polner said. “But I don’t think Carey is viewed as a glamorous figure.”

As for the “Men in Black” connection, Mr. Polner said there was absolutely no evidence to suggest that Mr. Carey might be an alien.

Mr. Carey and Mr. Koch now join another pair of notable politicians whose names grace a bridge and a tunnel: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

“In California, they name airports after movie stars: Bob Hope, John Wayne,” Mr. Moss of N.Y.U. said. “At least in New York, we honor our elected officials. This is a reflection of how much more important civic and political life is in New York than in California.”

Mr. Koch, with his gregarious demeanor and outsize persona, would seem a natural “bridge” type. But one longtime acquaintance of the mayor suggested on Wednesday that the Queensboro might not have been his ultimate aim.

“You want to know what he really wanted? He wanted Newark Airport!” said George Arzt, a longtime friend and a former press secretary for Mr. Koch. “He has always said to me that after he passes on, he would like Newark Liberty Airport named after him.” (Mr. Koch, although born in the Bronx, grew up in Newark.)

Reached for comment, Mr. Koch was adamant that such a prospect never held much interest for him.

“That was just talk!” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s Newark — I want to be in New York! That’s why I purchased my cemetery plot in Manhattan.”

Mr. Koch agreed that he preferred a bridge to an underground crossing — “Who wants to get stuck in a tunnel if the air closes around you?” — and then said he had to run: he was on his way to Gracie Mansion for a birthday party, where Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was expected to formally announce Mr. Koch’s new namesake.

But the former mayor asked a reporter to wait a moment so he could share a quotation he had found in “The Great Gatsby,” which he called appropriate for the occasion.

“The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge,” Mr. Koch said, reading from the novel, “is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.”

“Nobody else has a bridge like that,” Mr. Koch concluded happily. “Only me!”


December 9th, 2010, 08:59 AM
Wonder what Bloomberg imagines will have his name on it in years to come?

December 9th, 2010, 10:09 AM
I'd think he imagines it would be some park. Like, Bloomberg (formerly Hudson River) Park. Ick.

The Queensboro / 59th St. Bridge already has two names. Pick something else for Ed.

December 9th, 2010, 10:55 AM
I'm thinking the likely spot for Mike's remembrance is the re-built East River Park.

December 10th, 2010, 08:31 PM
Bumper-to-Bumper on the Eddie and the Hughie


The afternoon rush on the Eddie.

The Williamsburg Bridge is cursed and celebrated by New Yorkers as “the Willy B.” Could the bridge to be named for former Mayor Edward I. Koch soon be known simply as “the Eddie”?

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is keen on the idea, and so is Mr. Koch.

“That’s clever,” Mr. Bloomberg said after John Gambling suggested it in an interview with the mayor on WOR-AM (710) on Friday. “I assume he’d love ‘the Eddie.’ ”

Turns out, Mr. Koch is a fan. “Anything that they called it that was appropriate and proper and referred to me is wonderful,” Mr. Koch said. “I think there is a chance of it catching on.”

Pending approval from the City Council, Mr. Koch’s name will be plastered on the Queensboro Bridge, the cantilever structure that extends across the East River and is best known as the set piece of Woody Allen’s “Manhattan.”

Mr. Gambling had a similarly catchy name for the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which is poised to be named for Hugh L. Carey, the former governor: “the Hughie.”

Mr. Bloomberg reserved judgment on the nickname, running through a list of traffic arteries not blessed with shorthand. “They don’t call the Hudson ‘the Huddie,’ ” he said. “The G.W. is ‘G.W.’ ”

But, he added, “Williamsburg — ‘the Willy B’!”

Mr. Gambling then asked Mr. Bloomberg, not usually known for a diminutive ego, which structure would be appropriate to honor his legacy as mayor. “Probably some, you know, little newsstand kiosk or something,” Mr. Bloomberg said.


February 4th, 2011, 03:55 PM
Is there pedestrian access to the bridge walkway from Roosevelt Island? Or is the only access in Manhattan and Queens at the ends of the bridge?

March 24th, 2011, 06:42 AM

Council Votes to Rename Queensboro Bridge for Koch


The City Council voted 38 to 12 on Wednesday to rename the Queensboro Bridge after Mr. Koch, who led New York City from 1978 to 1989 and emerged as one of its most familiar faces. The city is expected to officially christen the bridge the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge next month.

The bridge, which serves as connective tissue between Manhattan and Queens, is a signature of the New York skyline, depicted in movies and memorialized in song. Its steel frame extends from 59th Street over the East River.

“It just makes me feel marvelous,” Mr. Koch said in a telephone interview after the vote.

He said he used the bridge frequently because he liked to go to Telly’s Taverna in Astoria for Greek food. “I’m going to feel very, very comfortable on that bridge,” he said.

The Queensboro Bridge, also known as the 59th Street Bridge, opened in 1909 and helped transform Queens from a collection of rural communities into an urban center of commerce and housing.

Several Council members invoked the bridge’s history as they criticized the plan to name it for Mr. Koch.

Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr. of Queens said the idea had been met with boos and hisses in his district. “This is not about Ed Koch,” he said. “This is all about pride. Pride in our borough, and pride in our bridge.”

“No one would ever think of renaming or co-naming the Brooklyn Bridge,” he added, saying it would be a more appropriate tribute to name the city’s Municipal Building for him.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens said he had received more mail about renaming the bridge than about any other topic since he took office last year. A recent poll by Quinnipiac University found that 64 percent of New Yorkers opposed the idea. “They do not want this to happen,” Mr. Van Bramer said.

Some used the meeting to single out Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who originally proposed renaming the bridge as a gift for Mr. Koch’s 86th birthday. “If Mayor Bloomberg wants to name something, he can name Bloomberg L.P. Koch L.P.,” said Councilman Jumaane D. Williams of Brooklyn, referring to the mayor’s media conglomerate.

Still, the Council meeting on Wednesday was largely free of contention, with many members using their few minutes at the microphone to praise Mr. Koch.

Christine C. Quinn, the Council speaker, said the memorial was deserved because of Mr. Koch’s hand in bringing the city back from the brink of bankruptcy in the 1980s. “He is our city’s biggest champion, its most significant cheerleader, its most unflagging supporter,” Ms. Quinn said.

(The admiration is mutual; Mr. Koch said recently that he would support Ms. Quinn for mayor in 2013 if she runs and if Raymond W. Kelly, the police commissioner, does not.)
On Wednesday, Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement that private donations would be used to pay for the replacement of signs.

“Ed Koch is responsible for so much of the progress we enjoy, and the renaming is a perfect tribute to one of our city’s greatest mayors,” said Mr. Bloomberg, who is expected to sign the name-change legislation in the next several weeks.

Few historic figures have been able to get as much of a glimpse into how the world will remember them as Mr. Koch. He has picked out a cemetery plot, selected his tombstone and written his epitaph. And now he will have a bridge to call his own.

Mr. Koch said that because he is alive, the tribute comes with a responsibility: serving as the bridge’s protector. “If anyone even suggests tolls,” he said, “I will be down at the bridge like Horatio guarding it.”


March 24th, 2011, 11:20 AM
The KQB?

April 11th, 2012, 11:11 PM
Base of Historic Queensboro Bridge Lamp Rediscovered After 36 Years

By Amy Zimmer | DNAinfo




The East 60th Street lamppost can be seen in the background near the kiosk for the
Queensboro Bridge trolley station. (Roosevelt Island Historical Society )

UPPER EAST SIDE — The twin of the elaborate Beaux Arts bronze lamppost that graces the entrance of the Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge on East 59th Street — albeit with a sign obscuring it — was removed from East 60th Street more than 35 years ago.

New York City history buffs had been hunting for it ever since — until the lamp's base turned up last year in a photograph posted on a blog.

The image on the Newtown Pentacle (http://newtownpentacle.com/2011/01/)website, taken by photographer Mitch Waxman in January 2011, shows the base looking worse for wear as it sat in a Department of Transportation street lights yard at 45-03 37th Ave. in Sunnyside, Queens.

At first, Waxman had no idea what the object was when he posted the photos. But some of his readers did and clued him in to the object's past (http://newtownpentacle.com/2011/02/01/wisdom-of-crowds/).

"It was a bit like Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark. It got shuffled to a warehouse and lost in the shuffle," Waxman said of the serendipitous discovery he made while taking a walk in Western Queens.

"It was clearly part of that great school of architecture: City Beautiful (http://www.nypap.org/content/city-beautiful-movement) from the early 20th century," he said. "I was stunned to see it. Something made of metal in this part of Queens that hasn’t been taken to the scrap yards is such a rare thing."

Waxman discussed his discovery with Judith Berdy, president of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, who is now on a mission to raise $60,000 to restore the 6,000-pound base. She hopes to install it on Roosevelt Island, near the historic cast iron and terra cotta kiosk that once served as a Queensboro Bridge Trolley Station and is now the Roosevelt Island Historical Society Visitor Center.

"It’s a beautifully decorated piece of bronze," Berdy said. "But it has to be taken to a foundry to be put back together, and it’s expensive to move."

Her organization would also have to prep the foundation for its new home to make sure it could withstand the base’s weight.

The two lampposts were installed on East 60th Street and East 59th Street on the Manhattan side of the Queensboro Bridge when it opened in 1909. They both have elaborately decorated bases, each side of which was labeled with a borough’s name (except Staten Island).

Both lampposts had been removed in 1974 to make way for the construction of the Roosevelt Island aerial tram. Two years later, the East 59th Street lamppost was reinstalled. It was restored in 2000 and then reinstalled once again.

"It’s part of the bridge’s history," Berdy said. "To me, it’s important that something like this not be trashed and put away somewhere where no one can see it."

Waxman, also a preservationist, was pleased to hear it might be heading to Roosevelt Island.

"It would be a great place for it, particularly with the new construction of Cornell University [for its tech campus]," he said.

"It will give a new generation a way to learn about Queens history," he added, noting that even though the lamppost was originally situated on the Manhattan side, the bridge helped spur development of Western Queens.

Before it was lost, the East 60th Street lamp stood near the kiosk where passengers boarded the trolley that crossed the bridge and connected Manhattan and Queens — with a stop on Roosevelt Island when it was called Welfare Island — until the line shuttered in 1957.

That 210-square-foot, 86,000-pound kiosk was moved to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in 1970. Then, five years ago, Berdy brought it to Roosevelt Island — a process that involved a massive operation with a crane and a flatbed truck that had to be operated in the middle of the night, Berdy said.

"I already moved the 86,000-pound visitor center," Berdy said, "so nothing fazes me. After 86,000 pounds, what’s 6,000 pounds?"

Community Board 8’s transportation committee gave a green light for moving the base to Roosevelt Island. The full board will vote on the proposal on April 18.


April 12th, 2012, 08:54 AM

There it is!


March 10th, 2015, 05:10 AM
What if the Queensboro Bridge Had a Built-in Pedestrian Plaza?

By Prachi Gupta
March 6, 2015
What if a bridge could also be a community center? That’s what architect Sunggi Park (http://www.archinspace.com/Ver3/) envisioned in his Harvard thesis project “Re-configurable Infrastructure,” which just got a special mention (http://www.bustler.net/index.php/article_image/a_closer_look_at_d3_unbuilt_visions_special_mentio n_re-configurable_infrast/image/22181) in the annual d3 Unbuilt Visions competition — an annual celebration of visionary and theoretical architecture across the world.


Using the Queensboro Bridge as an example, Park finds a way to not only make use of under-utilized space under bridges and aqueducts, but also make them stronger. These massive structures must be reinforced, updated and in some cases, entirely repurposed to keep pace with the demands of a large city. Park’s submission expands on this observation and blurs the lines between infrastructure, architecture and community space. “We could identify the notion of obsolescence which was a static, yet it can be redefined as a dynamic organ,” he writes. “So the vision of this project is a finding ideas of re-configurable infrastructures to be a regenerative figure.”


Park’s bridge design includes five layers, with the top layer being used for the sort of traditional transportation we associate with bridges (cars, pedestrian walkways) and the bottom four being used for restaurants, gyms, community centers, cafeterias and auditoriums.

Check out the project here (http://www.archinspace.com/Ver3/index.php?document_srl=84294).

(Image: Sunggi Park (http://www.archinspace.com/Ver3/index.php?mid=Home))