The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for May 5th, 2010

Circumnavigation 3

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hailing from the Brooklyn neighborhoods of first Flatbush, then Flatlands and Canarsie, my driving into “the City” habits always focused on the red haired step child of the Brooklyn Bridge- the Manhattan Bridge- which was the next great structure that the Circle Line passed.

from wikipedia

The Manhattan Bridge is a suspension bridge that crosses the East River in New York City, connecting Lower Manhattan (at Canal Street) with Brooklyn (at Flatbush Avenue Extension) on Long Island. It was the last of the three suspension bridges built across the lower East River, following the Brooklyn and the Williamsburg bridges. The bridge was opened to traffic on December 31, 1909 and was designed by Leon Moisseiff, who later designed the infamous original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that opened and collapsed in 1940. It has four vehicle lanes on the upper level (split between two roadways). The lower level has three lanes, four subway tracks, a walkway and a bikeway. The upper level, originally used for streetcars, has two lanes in each direction, and the lower level is one-way and has three lanes in peak direction. It once carried New York State Route 27 and later was planned to carry Interstate 478. No tolls are charged for motor vehicles to use the Manhattan Bridge.

The original pedestrian walkway on the south side of the bridge was reopened after forty years in June 2001.[3] It was also used by bicycles until late summer 2004, when a dedicated bicycle path was opened on the north side of the bridge, and again in 2007 while the bike lane was used for truck access during repairs to the lower motor roadway.

Main span: 1,470 ft (448 m)

Length of suspension cables: 3224 ft (983 m)

Total length: 6,855 ft (2,089 m)

The neighborhood near the bridge on the Brooklyn side, once known as Fulton Landing has been gentrified and is called DUMBO, an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.

To celebrate the bridge’s centennial anniversary, a series of events and exhibits were organized by the New York City Bridge Centennial Commission in October 2009. These included a ceremonial parade across the Manhattan Bridge on the morning of October 4th and a fireworks display in the evening. In 2009, the bridge was also designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Your humble narrator was honored to serve as a Bridge Parade Marshall for the aforementioned Centennial Parade, and attended the Landmarking ceremony on March 5th.

Here’s the Newtown Pentacle Posts on the Centennial Parade on October 4th-

Manhattan Bridge Centennial Parade 1

Manhattan Bridge Centennial Parade 2

Manhattan Bridge Centennial Parade 3

Here’s the NP post on the Ceremony in March- Exhausted

And for my personal take on the Manhattan Bridge- DUMBO… or missing my Dad

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Beneath the Bridge, small clots of citizenry were cleaning the shoreline of wind blown refuse and whatever washed up out of the East River over the long and severe winter that New York endured in 2010. It was Earth Day eve, after all.

I wish I could point you to a link about this effort, but the Brooklyn Blogosphere is an impenetrable fortress of noise and self importance which defies even the might of Google. If anybody associated with this effort is reading this, please fill the rest of us in on the particulars.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Moving north, ever north, midtown Manhattan’s iconic Chrysler Building rises behind the recently upgraded East River Station cogeneration power plant at 14th street and Ave. D.


The East River Generating Station, one of Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc.’s largest and most significant combined-cycle power stations, will be repowered by Slattery Skanska and its subsidiary Gottlieb Skanska.

Located on the east side of Lower Manhattan, the 43,000-sq.-ft. facility produces electricity and steam for homes and businesses throughout New York City. The project was completed May 2004.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I still owe you, lords and ladies, a proper workup of the Williamsburg bridge. I’m still collecting material research and photography for this posting, so don’t expect it anytime soon. One of my summer projects is “The Grand Walk”, which will start in Manhattan and follow Grand Ave. through Williamsburg and Greenpoint, across the Grand Ave. Bridge into Queens and onto (former Grand Avenue) 30th avenue through Astoria to Hallet’s Cove. An open call for experts on the various phases of the route is being made, by the way, and hopefully I can get a few of you to come along for the first Newtown Pentacle meetup and photowalk at the end of the summer. Bring ID, and a camera.

from wikipedia

Construction on the bridge, the second to cross this river, began in 1896, with Leffert L. Buck as chief engineer, Henry Hornbostel as architect and Holton D. Robinson as assistant engineer, and the bridge opened on December 19, 1903 at a cost of $24,200,000. At the time it was constructed, the Williamsburg Bridge set the record for the longest suspension bridge span on Earth. The record fell in 1924, when the Bear Mountain Bridge was completed.

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