Sep 22, 2010

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

Construction on the bridge began August 13, 1959, it opened November 21, 1964.  The lower level opened on June 28, 1969.  It was the largest suspension bridge until 1981 when it was passed by the Humber Bridge in England.  Interstate 278 passes over the bridge which connects Staten Island to Brooklyn.  This critical connection makes the bridge a popular crossing to reach the rest of New York City when traveling from New Jersey.

The bridge is named for  explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who first navigated the New York Harbor and Hudson River. 

There is a controversy about the naming of the bridge.  Verrazzano had a double z in his name while the bridge has one.  Some rumors had stated it was a mistake in the printing of the signs, others say America just left it out.

A less advertised controversy was the potential naming after John F. Kennedy.  A petition was submitted to name the bridge after the assassinated President but ultimately the bridge was named for the explorer, and Idlewild Airport was renamed for Kennedy.

The toll is a whopping $11 currently and is only charged when entering Staten Island.  The toll booths on the opposite side are being removed as of this writing.  Rumors has it that the toll is going to subsidize the Long Island Railroad.

Many have stated a construction worker fell to his death and into the cement when the bridge was being built.  It was brought up in the movie Saturday Night Fever.  We found one site that stated up to three died during construction.

After the opening of the bridge, the impact of Staten Island was astronomical.  With the ferry no longer being the only source of entering the boro, the population soared.

The Verrazano Bridge is seen worldwide every year during the start of the New York City Marathon.

More information on the web:

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

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