Task #14 of my 101 Things in 1001 Days project was to visit a landmark that I’d never seen before.
On 4 October 2012 Tim and I woke up in our cute little apartment in Brooklyn, and with bleary eyes searched the streets for coffee and breakfast. Once we were properly fed and caffeinated we decided to head to Manhattan on foot via the incredible Brooklyn Bridge.
According to my good friend Wikipedia, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States and was completed in 1883. At the time it opened, and for several years, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world – 50% longer than any previously built at 1.8km.
The bridge was originally built by a German immigrant named John Augustus Roebling. While conducting surveys for the project he sustained a crush injury to his foot when a ferry pinned it against a piling. After amputation of his crushed toes he developed a tetanus infection which eventually resulted in his death. He had placed his son Washington Roebling in charge of the project when he died.
Washington Roebling also suffered a paralysing injury as a result of compression sickness (“the bends”). His wife Emily Warren Roebling stepped in and provided the link between her husband and the engineers on site. Under her husband’s guidance she studied higher mathematics, bridge specifications and cable construction. She spent the next 11 years assisting her husband in the construction of the bridge.
Emily Warren Roebling was the first person to cross the bridge when it was opened for use on May 24, 1883. Her husband was unable to attend, but hosted a banquet at his house on the day of the opening.
Six days later, a rumour that the bridge was going to collapse caused a stampede in which at least twelve people were crushed and killed.
(Rumours ruin lives, you guys!)
a shout of joy!…
I too will spare no words about good things.
Blush at my praise, go red as our flag,
however united states of america you may be.
As a crazed believer enters a church,
retreats into a monastery cell, austere and plain;
so I, in graying evening haze,
humbly set foot on Brooklyn Bridge.
As a conqueror presses into a city all shattered,
on cannon with muzzles craning high as a giraffe –
so, drunk with glory, eager to live,
I clamber, in pride, upon Brooklyn Bridge.”
– An excerpt from Brooklyn Bridge by Vladimir Mayakovsky