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New York City Collection >
Brooklyn Bridge 125th

Brooklyn Bridge 125th


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Fireworks burst over the Brooklyn Bridge for the beginning of a 5-day celebration for the 125th birthday of the iconic New York City landmark, designed by John Roebling. As the sun set, the Brooklyn Philharmonic performed in the shadow of the engineering marvel. Composer Marvin Hamlisch serenaded the crowd with a special song he wrote for the bridge's birthday, but flubbed the lyrics, singing the span was built in 1893. Technically the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge is May 24, 1883, but the city started early. 

Building the bridge took 13 years, cost $15 million and claimed several lives, including that of its celebrated designer, John Roebling. He succumbed to an infection after being hurt while looking over the site.

I photographed the festivities from an upper floor terrace in Brooklyn Heights on May 23, 2008, as fireworks filled the sky above the bridge that first connected the cities of Brooklyn and New York, or if you want to get exact, Long Island and Manhattan Island. It was a vantage point that gave a true look at the importance of the bridge in its historical context, connecting what at the time were two of America's biggest cities.

The bridge ended the separate cities. Brooklyn became part of the city on January 1, 1898, five years after the bridge brought the islands together.

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