Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
Today is the 127th anniversary of the opening of that iconic bridge that first connected Brooklyn to Manhattan.
A 1945 rededication ceremony featured a popular stage actor reading Walt Whitman's poem, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, and a whimsical Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia waxing about the bridge's engineering and impressive gossamer network of cables.
"I know no bridge that has the beauty of design, the delicate lines, as you see the arches the bridge has. And it was quite an engineering feat for those days," LaGuardia said.
LaGuardia went on to explain how the original designer, John Augustus Roebling, died during construction and how his son, Washington Roebling, took over the project. The younger Roebling was then injured on the job but continued to work from his wheelchair.
The mayor also literally sold the Brooklyn Bridge -- a small wooden model, that is -- for $17.5 million to the president of United Merchant Manufacturing Company, who agreed to buy war bonds in return.
Special thanks to WNYC's archivist Andy Lanset.