One of the best ways to first see the magnificent skyline of Manhattan is from the window of a yellow taxicab as it crosses the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s remarkable to see how many bridges connect the island of Manhattan to other New York City boroughs. It is said there are over two thousand bridges in the city of New York alone, so you’re bound to see at least some of these while you’re visiting. In this article we’ll introduce you to some of the most famous and beautiful bridges of New York, and tell you something about the history and background of these bridges. We’ll also give you some practical visiting tips on these must-see bridges.
So without further ado: here are our top 5 bridges in New York City!
1. Brooklyn Bridge
Nowadays, the Brooklyn Bridge is perceived as one of the great engineering accomplishments of the 19th century. Its beautiful brick towers and Gothic arches have been the subjects of many photographs and have even featured in such movies as The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and I Am Legend.
While in New York, be sure to pay a visit to the Brooklyn Bridge. The best way to experience it is to take the subway to York Station (the F line) in Brooklyn. From here you can easily walk to the Brooklyn Bridge’s pedestrian walkway and stroll toward Manhattan for the best views. Be sure to bring a camera or smartphone, as you’ll want to take pictures of the magnificent Manhattan skyline (especially stunning just before sunset), the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty and of course the Brooklyn Bridge itself. When you walk up to the bridge’s arches you’ll have a great photo op of the web-like pattern of the bridge’s many steel cables. You can also bring a love lock to attach to the bridge like many lovers have done before. Do watch out for the cyclists though: the pedestrian path and bicycle path are only marked by a white line, so be sure not to stray onto the wrong lane.
To see what it’s like to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, have a look at our video tour of DUMBO. DUMBO is the Brooklyn neighborhood that is located right between the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge.
2. Manhattan Bridge
The Manhattan Bridge features a separate pedestrian walkway as well as a bikeway, making it convenient to walk or cycle across the bridge. You’ll get a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline from here, and you can also see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. However, unlike the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge includes subway tracks. This means that crossing the bridge on foot or by bike can be rather noisy. You can also choose to cross the bridge by taking any of the following four subway lines: B, D, N or Q. If you take the B or Q train towards Manhattan, you’ll also get a chance to see the art installation called Masstransiscope, created by Bill Brand, in the abandoned Myrtle Avenue Station. You can see the zoetrope on the right side of the train just after leaving Dekalb Station.
3. Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was opened in 1964, and an upper level was added in 1969 making it a double-decked suspension bridge. The bridge’s central span is 4,260 feet (1,298 meters) long, meaning it’s even longer than the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. In fact, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge has the longest bridge span in the Americas! Unfortunately, the bridge doesn’t have a pedestrian or bike path (yet). You can enjoy the views from the bridge from a car or you can take a bus across the bridge (the S53, S79 or S93). There are also several express buses from Manhattan that cross this bridge.
4. Queensboro Bridge
The cantilever bridge was built in 1909, and features several roadways, a pedestrian path, and a bike path. Furthermore, there’s an aerial tramway that runs along the north side of the bridge and carries passengers from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. Perhaps you will recognize it from the 2002 movie Spider-Man, as the tramway played a big part in the film’s climax. The Roosevelt Island Tramway is popular among tourists, and a great way to take a trip to Roosevelt Island. Both from the tramway and the island you’ll get a magnificent view of the Midtown Manhattan skyline.
Would you like to live on Roosevelt Island? Take a look at this room for rent in a 3-bedroom apartment on Roosevelt Island. This roommate share is perfect if you’re coming to New York for school, an internship, or on business. By living here you’ll be able to take the aerial tramway every day! If you’re looking for an apartment for a shorter period or holiday, check out our vacation rental apartments in New York City.
5. George Washington Bridge
Bonus Bridges: Bow Bridge in Central Park and the Williamsburg Bridge
Bow Bridge is a beautiful cast iron bridge built in 1862, which features an intricate design with beautiful decorations. The walkway of the bridge was constructed of ipe wood and turns a gorgeous shade of red when it gets wet. Bow Bridge has been featured in many films, such as Manhattan, The Way We Were and Keeping the Faith. It’s also a very popular proposal spot among couples to propose. You can find Bow Bridge west of the Loeb Central Park Boathouse just beside The Lake.
The Williamsburg Bridge is the second suspension bridge that was built over the Lower East River. It is located somewhat further to the northeast from the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge, and connects the Lower East Side of Manhattan to the fashionable Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn. Built in 1903, the total length of the industrial looking bridge is 7,308 feet (2,227 meters). Because of its length it is best to cross this bridge is by bike. If you go by bike you’ll also get a great look at all the graffiti that’s still visible on the bridge. Of course there’s also a magnificent view of both Manhattan and Brooklyn.
That concludes our list of the top 5 bridges in New York City. What’s your favorite bridge in New York?