Brooklyn Bridge


Off-Duty Officer Drew Gun During Protest

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New York City police say the officer was being assaulted when he drew his weapon during Tuesday's protest against police brutality.    



French Tourist Scales the Brooklyn Bridge

Monday, November 17, 2014

The man climbed over a fence on the pedestrian walkway just after noon on Sunday.

Comments [5]


Second Brooklyn Bridge Breach Exposes City's Security Flaws

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio is holding himself and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton responsible for the second breach of security on the Brooklyn Bridge this summer.


The Brian Lehrer Show

White Flags, No Surrender

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President, is offering a $5,000 reward for information about who hung white flags in place of the usual U.S. flags over the Brooklyn Bridge. He's called the placement of the flags a "terrorist act."

Comments [52]


Brooklyn Bridge Flags Remain Mysterious as NYPD Investigates

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Police officials said the white flags that appeared this morning atop the bridge had no terrorism or protest connection, but they still consider it a serious matter.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Annual Poets House’s Bridgewalk

Monday, June 09, 2014

A celebratory procession and poetry reading from atop one of New York's greatest monuments.

Comments [5]


4th of July Fireworks Head Back to East Side

Monday, April 14, 2014


Macy's spectacle returns to the East River after five years on the Hudson.


Transportation Nation

Seen on the Brooklyn Bridge

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

(photo by Andrea Bernstein/WNYC)

The Brooklyn Bridge promenade is getting a fresh coat of paint.

(photo by Andrea Bernstein/WNYC)

Workers were spotted Wednesday morning refreshing the bike and pedestrian markings.

(photo by Andrea Bernstein/WNYC)

The NYC Department of Transportation says work will be finished by the end of the week.

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The Takeaway

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge with David McCullough

Monday, May 21, 2012

Historian David McCullough is known for his biographies of monumental American figures: John Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman. But McCullough second book, published in 1972, explored American history not through the eyes of a Founding Father or a President, but through one of the most important public works projects of all time: the Brooklyn Bridge.


Transportation Nation

Historian David McCullough on What the Brooklyn Bridge Says About Politics Today

Monday, May 21, 2012

Photo: Anna Sale/WNYC

(New York, NY -- Anna Sale, It's a Free Country.Org) “Don’t you think this is a wonderful thing to walk across this bridge!”

Historian David McCullough has had a lot of honors in his career – two Pulitzers, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and just this week a gold medal for biography from the American Academy of Arts and Letters – but he still gets that thrill crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

(To hear David McCullough speak on the bridge, click here.)

On a bustling, bright morning this week, the 78 year-old and I started walking over from Manhattan. He is re-releasing a 40th anniversary edition of his 600-page history, The Great Bridge: the Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Every few minutes, he pauses to command “Look at this!” with a sweeping gesture of his hand.

“I can never get over it,” he said. “How did they do it? I still ask myself, how did they do it?”

Work began on the bridge in 1869, four years after the end of the Civil War, “in a day when every piece of steel, every stone had to be brought to the site by horse and wagon,” McCullough notes. When the bridge opened years later, in 1883. The towers were then the highest structures in New York City. It was the world’s longest suspension bridge, and the first time steel cables were used.

Also new were the underwater caissons – wooden boxes filled with air – that allowed workers to anchor the stone towers deep into the uneven riverbed.

“All new technology, innovating, improvising as they went along.” The sense of awe hasn’t faded. “Who are those guys, in other words, they’re really good!”

McCullough’s book, tells the history of these really good guys. There were the legions of workers from all over the world who built it.

Designer John Roebling, “the suspension bridge genius,” had proven a bridge could hang on steel cables by building a smaller version in Cincinnati. “He wanted this to be two great gateways to two great cities,” McCullough exclaimed at the foot of the first tower.

Roebling died unexpectedly before construction started, leaving his son, Washington Roebling, to take over. But he had a debilitating injury, so his wife Emily supervised day-to-day operations.

The federal government didn’t decide to build the bridge. New York City and Brooklyn did. Manhattan was bursting, and needed to grow across the river. Lining up in support were businesspeople, the press, and politicians — including Boss Tweed, the political boss who was at all the height of his power.

“I’m sure there were doubters, I’m sure there were cheapskates – but no, it was a chance to do it, and the benefits, the profit was so enormous. And it would’ve been sheer ignorance not to have done it.”

When McCullough’s book came out in 1972, just as Nixon’s New Federalism was scaling back the ambitious federal infrastructure programs of the Johnson era.

Forty years ago, McCullough said he viewed the book as history, without any particular  resonance to the politics of the day. Now, it’s different.

“The gilded age is about as rotten and greedy and corrupt as conscience-less as one can imagine – does that sound familiar?"

McCullough admits that today, he’d like to go to Washington and “knock their heads together” and tell them to stop being “selfish and stupid.”

Putting off regular infrastructure maintenance particularly sticks in his craw. The massive Transportation Bill which pays for bridges, road and transit, expired three years ago. The Senate and House haven't been able to agree, and instead, have passed short-term extensions nine times.

“It’s a form of indebtedness and we have to stop it because it’s dangerous as can be, he said, adding with an incredulous laugh. “And it’s how we get around. It’s how we function. It’s not theoretical!”

But McCullough stressed, neither novel nor really what endures. Studying history, he said, creates an cynic in the short-term and an optimist in the long-term.

"Even in the most dark or rotten of eras, great things can be done by exceptional people of integrity. That's really the story of this bridge." McCullough said as we reached the the other side in Brooklyn. "What we build, will very often stand down the ages as testimony to who we were, far more clearly and far more powerfully, than the politicians that come and go.”


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It's A Free Country ®

David McCullough on the Brooklyn Bridge's Enduring Message

Saturday, May 19, 2012

“Don’t you think this is a wonderful thing to walk across this bridge!”  

Historian David McCullough has had a lot of honors in his career – two Pulitzers, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and just this week a gold medal for biography from the American Academy of Arts and Letters – but he still gets that thrill crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

Comments [3]

Transportation Nation

Cyclist Pledges $40M to Brooklyn Bridge Park

Friday, April 20, 2012

Brooklyn Bridge Park (photo by cbrueck via flickr)

(Cindy Rodriguez -- New York, WNYC) An avid cyclist and wealthy New Yorker has pledged $40 million to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. It's the largest donation ever made to a city park and it will be used to build an indoor recreation center called the Fieldhouse.

The donor, Joshua Rechnitz, is the founder and chairman of the New York City Fieldhouse, a non-profit corporation. "We want this to truly be a community endeavor that will add amenities for park users and provide a much needed all weather sports facility," he said in a press release.

Plans for the indoor recreation center include a 200-meter track for cycling and a 22,000 sq. ft. field for high school, college and professional level sports such as basketball, tennis and gymnastics.

Regina Myer, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park, said that the new facility would be along Furman Street, an area of the park used for maintenance and operations.

"Indoor recreation was always part of our park plan but for many many years we just simply didn't have the money," Myer said. "When we realized that Mr. Rechnitz had this vision we worked with him to come to this announcement."

Myer said there will be an approval process, which will include discussions with the community. If all goes well, plans are to break ground in a year and a half.

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Transportation Nation

From the TN Archives: When Love Met the Bolt Cutter

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

(This story originally appeared on June 9, 2011 -- TN is republishing it in honor of Valentine's Day) One of our colleagues, WNYC producer Amy Pearl, commutes over the Brooklyn Bridge most mornings. The bridge is undergoing a massive rehabilitation, and so workers are usually on the job.

Today they were repainting the line on the bridge that separates the bike lane from the pedestrian walkway.

The frequent Brooklyn Bridge crosser is probably familiar with the phenomenon known as "love locks." Amy Pearl explained the practice in a 2009 web article: "Couples write their names on a lock - often the kind you'd use to keep your street clothes safe at the gym - and throw the key into the East River...Similar locks can be found on bridges all over Europe, as in Florence, Poland, Germany, and Latvia."

The locks can be found all over the place, despite the posted rule that forbids the attachment of objects to the bridge.

This morning, Amy told TN that workers were removing the locks. "Our boss told us to cut them," one said. DOT spokesman Montgomery Dean said that crews regularly remove these locks while performing all other ongoing maintenance work.

They got quite a collection.

For more photos of the locks, go here.

(All photographs by Amy Pearl/WNYC)


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Hundreds Arrested During March Over Brooklyn Bridge

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Occupy Wall Street protesters shut down part of the Brooklyn Bridge when marchers spilled onto the roadway from Manhattan. Police arrested approximately 700 protesters while trying to clear the road and reopen the bridge to traffic Saturday evening.

Comments [15]

Transportation Nation

Brooklyn Bridge Under Wraps

Thursday, September 23, 2010

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) WNYC went out on the Brooklyn Bridge last week to check on the progress of that structure's $508 million, four-year rehabilitation. The galvanized steel containment shields are going up, the off-white canvas is being hung, and the pedestrian/bike walkway has narrowed about a foot and a half.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

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Portions of Brooklyn Bridge to Be Closed in Evenings

Monday, August 23, 2010

Starting Monday night, the Brooklyn Bridge will be closed for Manhattan-bound traffic overnight. During these closures, all inbound traffic will be diverted to other East River crossings, while pedestrians and cyclists will not be affected. The closure also doesn't affect car traffic heading into Brooklyn.



Workers Set to Install Brooklyn Bridge Canvas

Monday, August 02, 2010

A four-year, $508 million dollar renovation of the Brooklyn Bridge is currently underway.  But beyond some lane closures and a few construction signs, you might not have noticed much of a difference.  That’s about to change.


Transportation Nation

Brooklyn Bridge to get "Christo"-Style Treatment

Sunday, August 01, 2010

(New York -- Kate Hinds, WNYC)  As part of its $508 million rehabilitation, the Brooklyn Bridge will get wrapped in canvas beginning in about two months.

Hasan Ahmed, who oversees the Brooklyn Bridge for the New York City Department of Transportation, says workers will install a huge canvas shield that will protect motorists while the bridge is repainted. "It will be lots of material."

Workers will repaint five million square feet of steel -- and first the old leaded paint has to be removed. Hence the need for a canvas shield. And that necessitates a lot more than throwing down a drop cloth.

"In a couple of months you will see a major difference in the outlook of the bridge," Ahmed tells WNYC's Kate Hinds. "When the containment is styled to creep up from one side ittle by little a whole section of the bridge will be covered."

The canvas won’t cover the bridge’s wood-plank pedestrian walkway, which is elevated above the road.  But the drive across the span will soon change.

Says Ahmed "When you are driving on the bridge, you will not see the sky, because you will see a while or off-white or light brown shield on the top of you."

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Transportation Nation

Big Brooklyn Bridge Contractor Got "Marginal" Rating on Minority Hiring

Friday, July 02, 2010

(Kate Hinds, WNYC) One of the main reasons WNYC decided to monitor the renovation of the Brooklyn Bridge is that we thought following this $508-million project would provide a good test case for government transparency. We would publicly mull over questions like How does the city award contracts? Where will the materials come from? Who will get the jobs? Read on, and we'll tell you how the main bridge contractor, Skanska-Koch, got a "marginal" rating for hiring women and minorities. But first...(more)

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Transportation Nation

Brooklyn Bridge Rehab Creates Jobs, But You'll Never Know How Many

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Vice President Joe Biden is gifted the Brooklyn Bridge (Kate Hinds/WNYC)

(Kate Hinds, WNYC) Wednesday's official groundbreaking of the Brooklyn Bridge rehab brought out some big political names--Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Congressman Jerrold Nadler. What it did not bring was clarity on the job creation issue.

Because New York received federal stimulus dollars to complete the bridge work ($30 million of the $508 total comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with a $192 million in additional federal funding and $286 in the city’s own capital funds going to complete the work), the city must follow certain reporting guidelines, like the amount of money spent, the progress of the work and the expected number of jobs that the project will generate, although pinning down actual job creation numbers is notoriously difficult. (Last December, the Obama administration changed the job reporting requirement to evaluate “full-time equivalent” positions paid for out of stimulus funding--regardless of whether the job was newly created or existing.)

New York City’s stimulus website estimates that the Brooklyn Bridge rehab will create and/or retain 834 full-time equivalent positions--although New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said after the press conference that calculating the number was difficult. “There are all different ways to cut a job,” she said. “There’s the direct job number, then there’s the indirect job number--I think that’s 2,594 or something, it’s not an exact science.” Earlier in press conference, the vice president said that the federal stimulus dollars would create 150 jobs.

But as of March 31--the most recent stimulus reporting deadline--New York City’s own data said the bridge work had created 0.13 positions.’s data registered zero jobs created, even though Skanska Koch, the contractor, officially began work in January. According to the commissioner, the .13 figure is outdated and a more accurate number will be reflected in the next reporting period, which ends June 30. “I think we have 44 people on-site right now, and we expect that number to grow as the project ramps up,” she said. WNYC was unable to find any public job postings for the Brooklyn Bridge work on either the New York State Department of Labor website or

The commissioner added that the work on the bridge is “on schedule and on budget” despite its complexity--and the fact that it’s reported as being six months late on the city’s stimulus tracker. “This is not a typical infrastructure job in that this is the Brooklyn Bridge. This is a half-billion dollar project...this is not a project where you're stapling two pieces of paper together. This is a project where you are engaging a wide swath of the construction and engineering community,” she said.

But back to the Brooklyn Bridge and job creation. “Yes, these are jobs, these are real jobs,” Vice President Biden said. “But I want to point out--when people say well, this is because the economy’s in such trouble. What we’re doing here, what the mayor and the city and state are doing here on the Brooklyn Bridge--and what we’re doing on those other bridges across the country--they are worthwhile in and of themselves. (Even if) this economy were clipping along at an 8 percent growth rate and we had zero percent unemployment, this is a necessary, worthwhile investment.”


Learn more about WNYC’s Brooklyn Bridge coverage--and to sign up to help the station watch the work here.

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