New York: top 10 of must-see bridges

Manhattan is an island, and the five boroughs of the metropolis are almost all separated by a river or the ocean. So the bridges are from their beginning an inescapable highlight of the New York skyline.

Manhattan Bridge

On Get By, Once upon a time there was a rapper, born in Park Slope and become one of the greatest voices of hip-hop.  Talib Kweli relates his America in Get By and several settings in the clip, with a view of Manhattan Bridge pillars, inevitably make you think of the iconic movie poster from Once Upon a Time in America by Sergio Leone.

The most beautiful views are to be had on the Brooklyn side. There’s also of course the view from the corner of Washington St and Walter St, immortalised on the billboard for Once Upon a Time in America with the Empire State Building in the background. But the little park on Main St, at the foot of the pier, also offers an equally incredible panorama.

Brooklyn Bridge

On I Am Legend, the shots of the bridge, especially its explosion, required six nights of shooting and cost production more than 5 million dollars. It happens to be the most expensive sequence ever filmed in New York.

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on foot is an unforgettable experience. It takes three quarters of an hour on a level exclusively for the use of pedestrians and cyclists, and the view over the Manhattan skyline is absolutely stunning. Inaugurated in 1883 after fourteen years of work, often bereaving losses, this 5,989 feet long suspension bridge symbolically links the city halls of Brooklyn and New York.

Williamsburg Bridge

On The Amazing Spider-Man, while Dr Rajit Ratha (Irrfan Khan), Osborn’s boss, is stuck in his car on this bridge, Dr Curt Connors aka the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) tries to kill him by dumping his car into the East River. Spider-Man catches it just in time, like he does for many other vehicles.

Not as well-known as the Brooklyn Bridge, crossing the Williamsburg Bridge on the level reserved for pedestrians and cyclist is also worth the experience. While you’re there, take a look at the rather original sign created by Marty Markowitz, former president of the borough of Brooklyn: “Leaving Brooklyn: Oy Vey!”.

Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge

On Queensboro Bridge, the title closes up the third album by David Mead who had previously  passed by Nashville, explored New Mexico and crossed Indiana. The bridge also inspired Simon & Garfunkel for The 59th St Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) (1966) and the rapper MC Shan for The Bridge (1986).

Finished in 1909, the construction of this metal bridge joining Manhattan to Long Island was undertaken amidst social tension. The workers union had even fostered a plan to blow it up, but the instigator of all this dirty work gave up the idea when he discovered the existence of a fire station at the base of the bridge.

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

On Saturday Night Fever, for Tony, the immense suspension bridge (4,178 m), that he contemplates with Stephanie (Karen-Lynn Gorney) from a bench on the Bay Ridge Promenade, symbolises escape. But it’s especially here, on the edge that he regularly has fun with his friends doing balancing acts. Until Booby C.’s tragic fall.

This suspended bridge that has connected Staten Island to Brooklyn since 1964, also marks the entrance to the port of New York. It gets its name from the Italian Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European to have crossed the straits called “the Narrows” and set foot on the site of the present day city.

Hell Gate Bridge

On The French Connection, the police block off this bridge as well as the Triborough, just beside, during the last scenes. Dating from 1916, Hell Gate Bridge was the longest steel arch bridge (3.2 miles) until 1932, when the Bayonne Bridge was inaugurated on Staten Island.

What the devil! This bridge spanning the East River linking Queens to Randall’s Island and Ward’s Island; what on earth did it do to get such a name? In fact, Hell Gate Bridge comes from the Dutch “hellegat”, the channel of hell, after the writings of a 17th century Dutch explorer, confronted at this spot with rough waters dotted with reefs.

Bayonne Bridge

On War of the worlds, Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) lives in New Jersey at the foot of this bridge (11 Kennedy Boulevard, Bayonne), destroyed later by the extra-terrestrial Tripods.  Built in 1931, it was, until 1977, the longest steel bridge in the world.

It’s Bayonne New Jersey that has given the bridge its name. With a span of 1,675 feet joining the Bergen Neck peninsula to Staten Island since 1911; the bridge poses a problem. It’s not high enough for certain ships to pass so they have to wait for low tide. The Port Authority has ordered a study to be done in order to heighten, or even replace the bridge.

Riverside Dr Viaduct

On Marvel's Luke Cage, Diamondback’s henchmen make Hernan “Shades” Alvarez (Theo Rossi) believe that they want to hire him. They take him to a warehouse right beside the Riverside Viaduct, an elevated steel highway built in 1900. The scene under the bridge structure was filmed on 12th Ave, between 133rd and 134th streets. The building that the group goes into is that of the Cleanex Process Co. a small two-story building. It’s on the roof that Shades finds out that Diamondback has ordered him killed.

Between Tiemann Place and 135thSt, this large roadway that stretches alongside the Hudson River is actually a viaduct. The metal construction finished at the beginning of the 20thcentury and renovated twice since, is a feat of engineering.

Bow Bridge

On Largo Winch, Marilyn and Largo Winch take a lovers’ stroll and cross this magnificent Central Park bridge.  You can do the same but don’t look for the statue of the flute player near which they kiss a little later.  This statue is in a Brussels park.

The only bridge in Central Park to have been built in iron in the mid-19thcentury, you couldn’t ask for a more romantic place than Bow Bridge to watch the ballet of rowboats on the lake.

Gapstow Bridge

On Central Park Blues, This instrumental piece completes Little Girl Blue, the first album of the jazz diva.  The record company needed another song and so Nina Simone took her inspiration from a photo shoot in Central Park.  The cover shows her seated on a bench with Gapstow Bridge in the background.

Gapstow, one of the most famous bridges in central Park, was built out of wood in 1874, but wear made it necessary to replace it with a stone arch in 1896.

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