As one of the most famous cities in the world, New York seems to have it all—scenery, great food, culture, fashion, architecture, and tourism.
In the city that never sleeps, there also lies one of the largest collections of bridges and tunnels that connect the five boroughs spread across four separate landmasses.
Today, we will be taking you on a tour through New York’s most famous bridges.
So whether you are looking for your next photo op or you want to find a new way to view the Big Apple, read on to find your next hot spot.
1. The Brooklyn Bridge
As one of New York must-see attractions, it is among the oldest structures in the entire country and is very likely the most well-known bridge in New York to both locals and visiting tourists.
When it opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge made history by being the first steel-wire suspension bridge ever to be constructed. It was originally called the “New York and Brooklyn Bridge” but was later renamed the Brooklyn Bridge in 1915.
Today, the Brooklyn Bridge is considered to be an impressive engineering feat of the 19th century. Its structural makeup and design were so innovative for its time that many had doubts about its strength and stability.
To garner public confidence, a parade of 21 elephants was led over the bridge on May 17th, 1884, by Barnum’s circus.
2. The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge
Like the Brooklyn Bridge, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is a suspension bridge. It connects Staten Island and Brooklyn over the Narrows. When it opened in 1964, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world until it was surpassed by the Humber Bridge in the UK in 1981.
Carrying 13 lanes of traffic, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is double-decked. It only allows cars and does not have any pedestrian walkways. The traffic that runs through it daily is fast and extremely busy.
Many New York residents have petitioned for a walkway to be installed, but these efforts have not come to fruition as the bridge remains car only.
Illuminated by lights positioned all along the bridge, this structure is brilliant when seen at night. You can stroll by the water in Bay Ridge, right next to the Belt Parkway, for some great views. It is also remarkably beautiful when seen next to the New York sunset.
3. The Williamsburg Bridge
Completed in 1903, the Williamsburg Bridge was the second suspension bridge to span the East River. It links the East Side of Manhattan at Delancey Street with Brooklyn at Broadway.
Every day, the Williamsburg bridge carries approximately 140 000 people. In addition to cars and motorists, there are also pathways for people to cross. We highly recommend strolling the walkway—the view is spectacular.
You can find the start of the walkway in Brooklyn at Berry Street, between South 5th and South 6th street.
As a work of beautiful architecture, the bridge is 7,308 feet long and 135 feet high above the river. At the foot of the bridge in Williamsburg, there are three public areas that are collectively known as the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza.
Here, you can find several playgrounds, monuments, and a busy bus terminal.
Ride a bike across the Williamsburg Bridge would be one of the must-do things when you are in Williamsburg.
4. The Manhattan Bridge
The Manhattan Bridge runs almost parallel to the Brooklyn Bridge. It opened over a hundred years ago and joins lower Manhattan with downtown Brooklyn. The bridge was designed by Leon Moisseiff and built by The Phoenix Bridge Company.
It is a stunning piece of architecture, and while some consider it to be less popular than the Brooklyn Bridge, it still provides one of the best views over the river.
For a fantastic outlook of New York, make sure you swing by this trademark 20th-century Manhattan structure.
Unlike the Williamsburg bridge, which has braced steel towers, the Manhattan Bridge has flexible steep towers. The spheres seen at the top do not serve a functional purpose; they are meant to be solely decorative.
5. The Queensboro Bridge
This magnificent double-decked cantilever bridge also spans the East River, located between the Long Island neighborhood and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It reaches over Roosevelt Island and is also known as the “59th Street Bridge”.
The Queensboro Bridge is maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation and is 350 feet tall. Both pedestrians and bikers are allowed on the bridge, so be sure to check it out.
For a special close-up way to see the bridge, you can take the Roosevelt Island Tramway, which runs along the bridge. There is no toll to cross otherwise.
This particular bridge has been referenced in popular culture. You may have seen it in Billy Joel’s music video for his 1985 single “You’re Only Human” or recognize it from the 2018 film Avengers: Infinity War. Peter Parker and his class are on a school bus driving over the bridge.
6. The Henry Hudson Bridge
Presently operated by MTA Bridges and Tunnels, the Henry Hudson Bridge is known by many in New York. It is a steel arch toll bridge that connects the Bronx with the Inwood area in Manhattan.
Its name was meant to commemorate the voyage of Henry Hudson and its original design was created by David B. Steinman. As of April 11th, 2021, drivers need to pay $7.50 per car or $4.28 per motorcycle.
In late 2016, its tollbooths were taken down and drivers were no longer able to pay by cash to cross. Cameras and E-ZPass readers are now mounted to facilitate payment.
In terms of its structure, the Henry Hudson Bridge hosts seven lanes, three on the upper level and four on its lower. It arches over Spuyten Duyvil Creek and has a total length of 2,208 feet.
7. The Kosciuszko Bridge
The Kosciuszko Bridge was a cable-stayed bridge that spans Newton Creek, connecting Brooklyn to Queens. It replaced the Meeker Avenue Bridge and cost between $6 to 13 million dollars to build in 1939. Converted to modern-day values, it would equal $117 to 253 million dollars.
In the summer of 2017, a part of the original structure was set to be demolished by a controlled explosion. On October 1st, 2017, a detonation of 944 small explosive charges was set off. This was the largest explosive demolition project in New York City.
Subsequently, the westbound bridge was worked on and by May 2019, it was ready for opening that fall. Underneath this portion, a 7-acre park was created called “Under the K”.
8. The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge
Like the Kosciuszko Bridge, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge opened in 1939. It is 3,770 feet long and transports over 100, 000 vehicles a day.
This crossing connects Throggs Neck and Ferry Point Park in the Bronx with the Whitestone neighborhood of Queens.
It is not free to cross this bridge. As of April 11th, 2021, drivers have to pay $10.17 per car or $4.28 per motorcycle. Back in the 1940s to the 1970s, tolls amounted to a quarter.
The bridge used to have a walkway for pedestrians to cross but, unfortunately, it is now only available for motorized vehicles.
Historically, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge has gone through several repairs and modifications.
In the mid-1900s, steel cables were added to increase stability and protect the bridge from the effects of oscillation and, in 1990, it was announced that the bridge would undergo a $20.3 million refurbishment.
9. The Bow Bridge
Found in Central Park, the Bow Bridge is one of the most iconic and photographic bridges in New York. Every season offers new sights which have attracted many to continue coming back to appreciate its beauty.
The bridge is a very popular site for couples to snap a photo, wedding shoots, go on first dates, or just simply stop and enjoy a moment.
You can visit during the fall to marvel at the picturesque autumn colors, or in the summer to watch the rowboats float by serenely.
Constructed of cast iron, the Bow Bridge crosses over the lake and only allows pedestrians (no vehicles). It has a banister decorated with a pattern of interlocking circles that was designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould. The bridge has a deep history as it was completed in 1862.
10.The George Washington Bridge
Originally, the George Washington Bridge was designed by engineer Othmar H. Ammann. When first built, the bridge’s main span stretched 3,500 feet. The bridge has since been modified and extends 4,760 feet.
Spanning the Hudson River between Fort Lee and upper Manhattan, the towers of the George Washington Bridge stand 604 feet above the water. The lower level has 6 lanes while the upper level has 8 lanes and 2 footways.
The original cost to build the bridge was valued at $59 million dollars and many have commented on how majestic it is.
If you are planning to take a stroll across, it might be a good idea to note that the path is relatively narrow. Keep an eye out as the walkway is also open to bicycles.
11. Hell Gate Bridge
In addition to its name, the Hell Gate Bridge is known for its recognizable shape and color. It is a steel arch bridge that opened in 1916 and was designed by Oliver W. Barnes.
When it opened, it was the longest steel arch bridge until 1931 when the Bayonne Bridge was made.
The Hell Gate Bridge is one of three bridges that make up the Hell Gate Railroad. Among the three, its arch is the largest, and presently it runs from what is today 50th Street in Brooklyn to 141st Street in The Bronx.
12. The Wards Island Bridge
Known as the 103rd Street Footbridge, the Wards Island Bridge crosses the Harlem River and does not allow vehicles to pass. It is a vertical lift bridge that has a total of 12 spans and connects Manhattan Island with Wards Island.
This bridge is maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation and was made to carry people to Wards Island Park, stadiums, healthcare facilities, and athletic attractions.
Today, it is open 24 hours a day year-round, but before the late 2000s, the bridge was only available between April to October during the day.
Where can I find these famous bridges?
You can use the map below to find these famous bridges. Simply click on the map and navigate your way around New York!