As the epicenter of art, culture, fashion, tourism, and great food, it's no wonder New York City is one of the most famous cities in the world.
With five boroughs distributed between four separate landmasses, the Big Apple heavily depends on a complex network of almost two thousand bridges.
It is amazing to think about how many bridges connect the island of Manhattan to the other boroughs of New York City. From the Brooklyn Bridge, famously built in 1883 and the backdrop of many famous movie scenes, to the elegant 14-lane George Washington Bridge, which connects New York City to the state of New Jersey.
In this article, we will highlight some of the most famous and well-known bridges in New York City.
In each entry, we will tell you a little about these big, beautiful bridges and what makes them one of the most famous feats of modern architecture in the Big Apple.
For this list, we'll be ranking each of the NYC bridges based on age, size, fame, usage, and other factors such as use in film and importance to the city.
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This looming wonder of the modern world connects the financial district of Manhattan to the northeastern part of Brooklyn. Today, its solid granite towers and steel suspension cables are an integral component of the New York City skyline.
For nearly 140 years, the Brooklyn Bridge has provided locals and tourists with the same passage across the East River.
An estimated 150,000 vehicles and pedestrians cross this iconic bridge every day. Brooklyn Bridge is, hands down, one of the most famous and recognizable bridges of NYC.
John Augustus Roebling, Brooklyn Bridge's creator, would later go down in history as one of the greatest pioneers in the design of steel suspension bridges.
Though the German immigrant suffered a fatal accident before the bridge's completion, his wife and son took over construction and made sure the project was completed.
15 years after its inception, the Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883 and hailed as a modern architectural wonder. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world - measuring a total length of 6,855 feet.
Address: Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY 10038
The youngest of the three suspension bridges that span the Lower East River, the Manhattan Bridge was completed in 1909 and connects Chinatown in Lower Manhattan to Downtown Brooklyn.
One of the most famous NYC bridges, Manhattan Bridge, boasts elaborate stone towers and sweeping suspension cables.
An estimated 76,000 vehicles, 2,700 pedestrians, and 6,200 cyclists cross this bridge daily, distributed over 13 lanes.
The bridge was designed by Leon Moiseff (1872 - 1943), who also designed two other well-known New York bridges - the George Washington Bridge and the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.
In 2009, 100 years after the bridge's completion, the Manhattan Bridge was named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Address: Manhattan Bridge, New York, NY 11201
The Williamsburg Bridge is the second of the three suspension bridges on our list that span the Lower East River.
Built in 1903, the Williamsburg Bridge carries an average of 140,000 people every day. When construction was completed, it was the longest suspension bridge ever built - a title that had previously belonged to the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Williamsburg Bridge was one of the last major bridges in the country designed to accommodate travelers via horse and carriage.
When the automobile became the primary mode of transportation for most Americans, the city replaced the trolley tracks along the bridge with roadways.
Because of the enchanting view, it is recommended to travel Williamsburg Bridge via foot or bicycle.
Address: Brooklyn, NY 11249
The northernmost of the three New York bridges that span the Lower East River, the Queensboro Bridge connects the Upper East Side of Manhattan to Long Island City in the borough of Queens.
The Roosevelt Island Tramway runs along the north side of this bridge and transports passengers from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island.
Aside from being a vital component of transportation, the tramway is a popular tourist destination, as locals and tourists alike can enjoy panoramic views of the Midtown Manhattan skyline.
While the official name of the bridge is the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, most locals refer to it simply as the Queensboro Bridge.
This famous bridge is featured in several films, including the 2002 film Spider-Man and the 2018 film Avengers: Infinity War.
Address: Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, New York, NY 10044
One of the most famous New York City bridges, the George Washington Bridge, spans the Hudson River and connects Manhattan's west side with the state of New Jersey.
This double-decked suspension bridge has 14 lanes, distributed between two levels: the lower level has 6 lanes of vehicular traffic, and the upper level has 8 lanes, plus 2 walking/biking paths.
If you plan to cross the George Washington Bridge on foot, keep in mind that the walking paths are relatively narrow.
Address: George Washington Bridge, Fort Lee, NJ 07024
Famous as the starting point for the highly anticipated New York Marathon, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge doesn't connect to Manhattan.
Instead, it connects the Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Hamilton with the borough of Staten Island.
The bridge is named after Giovanni de Verrazzano, the first European to enter the New York Harbor, and the Narrows - the body of water over which the bridge spans.
With only vehicular traffic lanes and no pedestrian walkways like some other bridges on our list, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is most striking at night, when the lights along its suspension cables light up and are reflected on the water of the Narrows.
Address: Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, Staten Island, NY
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in New York City
Formerly called the Triborough Bridge, the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge is actually a system of three bridges:
This massive bridge complex was named National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1986 by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Address: Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, NY 10035
Among the famous bridges in New York City lies the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, which connects the Bronx's Throggs Neck and Ferry Point Park with the Whitestone neighborhood in Queens.
Opened in 1939 and spanning a total length of 3,770 feet long, this suspension bridge transports over 100,000 vehicles a day.
While the Bronx-Whitestone bridge used to have a pedestrian walkway, it is only open to vehicular traffic today. The bridge was designed by Swiss-American structural engineer Othmar Ammann.
Ammann and Dana designed the bridge of a similar structure, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which unfortunately collapsed in 1940.
In order to save the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge from the same tragic fate, Ammann and Dana added extra trusses to the bridge in the 1940s.
Address: Whitestone, NY 11357
This suspension bridge carries six lanes of traffic from the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx with Queens's Bay Terrance.
Designed by Swiss-American structural engineer Othmar Ammann, the Throgs Neck Bridge opened in January of 1961, built to relieve the heavy traffic flow that overwhelmed the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.
And given the heavy traffic flow plagues all of the bridges in NYC, it comes as no surprise why another bridge was needed. As a result, the two bridges are located just 2 miles apart.
If the name Othmar Ammann sound familiar to you, it's because Ammann also designed several of the major bridges of NYC, including the Robert F. Kennedy, the Queensboro, the Verrazzano-Narrows, the Throgs Neck, and the George Washington Bridge.
Address: Throgs Neck Bridge, The Bronx, NY 10465
Also Read: Most Famous Bridges in the USA
While smaller than most of the bridges on our list, the Hell Gate Bridge boasts unique architecture that puts it on par with the larger bridges in NYC.
Known for its distinctive shape and color, this steel arch bridge was opened in 1916 and connects Brooklyn's 50th Street with 141st Street in the Bronx.
One of the three total bridges that compose the Hell Bridge Railroad, the Hell Gate Bridge has the largest arch.
In fact, when construction on the bridge was completed in 1916, it was the longest steel arch bridge until 1931, when the Bayonne Bridge in Staten Island was built.
Address: New York, NY 11105
The High Bridge, originally named the Aqueduct Bridge, is the oldest bridge in New York City. Built in 1848 as part of the Croton Aqueduct, the High Bridge was actually closed down in the 1970s due to its age.
Restoration efforts didn't begin until 2009, and in 2015, the High Bridge finally opened to bicycles and pedestrians for the first time in 45 years.
Construction on the High Bridge (then the Aqueduct Bridge) began in 1837 as part of the Croton Aqueduct project to transport water to the then very young and very small New York City.
Because the chief engineers didn't want to create the major problem of obstructing boat and ship traffic from the Harlem River to the Hudson River, they opted to build a high bridge rather than a low bridge, even though a low bridge would've been faster, cheaper, and overall easier to construct.
Address: Harlem River Dr, New York City, NY 10033
The last entry on our list of NYC bridges, this steel-arch toll bridge connects the Inwood area in Manhattan with the Bronx, spanning Spuyten Duyvil Creek.
Like most bridges in NYC, the Henry Hudson Bridge has two levels that host a combined seven lanes.
The bridge was designed by American civil engineer David B. Steinman, who combined plate girder arch and steel arch structures in the bridge's design.
When construction on the Henry Hudson Bridge was completed in 1936, it was the longest bridge of its kind in the world.
The bridge was named to commemorate the voyage of the famous English explorer Henry Hudson, who sailed into the area in 1906.
Address: 2152 Henry Hudson Pkwy, The Bronx, NY 10463
From the historic landmarks of the High Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge to the modern-day architectural feats like the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, our list of the twelve most famous New York City bridges is sure to provide some inspiration for your next trip to the Big Apple.
Whether you are a tourist flocking to see these incredible bridges for the first time or a native New Yorker simply traveling to and from work each day, we hope this article has helped you gain an appreciation for these magnificent modern wonders - without which, New York City would never have become as we know it today.