|The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge leads from Long Island City to Midtown East.|
Groovy to some and practical to others, the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, also known as the 59th Street Bridge, is a statuesque steel structure stretching from midtown Manhattan to Long Island City, Queens. Classic and timeless, the interlacing icon often takes a backseat to its Brooklyn rival. The double cantilever bridge was completed in 1909 after enduring eight years of construction, spending $18 million, and taking 50 lives. Renamed after former mayor Ed Koch in 2010, this span across the East River remains toll-free, transporting about 200,000 vehicles daily. But the bridge does more than just link two boroughs; the massive overpass also enhances the east side of the Manhattan skyline.
Beyond its function and great looks, the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge has held an important spot in pop culture, including film, TV, music, and literature. Unforgettably, the bridge is the perfect third character in the nostalgic Manhattan scene with Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. The characters sit romantically on a bench beneath the bridge while basking in the moonlight.
Literary great, E. B. White, mentions the bridge in Charlotte’s Web, when Charlotte informs Wilbur, the pig, that the Queensboro took eight years to construct, but she can make a web in a single night.
Manhattan isn’t the only film featuring the bridge. Surely you remember the Queensboro as a backdrop in films like Escape from New York, Spiderman, Anger Management, The Bourne Ultimatum, Something Borrowed, and Salt.
A fair amount of Billy Joel’s video for the hit song “You’re Only Human” was also shot here. Released in 1985, the video portrays a young man who contemplates ending his life by jumping off the bridge. Joel’s angelic character steps in, and the lad has a change of heart.
F. Scott Fitzgerald cites the grand landmark using Nick Carraway’s character in The Great Gatsby. “The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.”
|“The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is a city seen for the first time…”|
The next time you find yourself wandering eastbound on 58th, 59th, or 60th Streets, glance upward and take notice of this magnificent passage to Queens. Recall the lyrics from Simon & Garfunkel’s hit “The 59th Street Bridge Song.” “Slow down, you move too fast, got to make the morning last.”
Or better, take a ride on the Roosevelt Island Tramway, which provides stunning views of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and a groovier perspective than any you’ll find from the ground.
No matter how you look at it, from near or far, this is a beautiful bridge.
|Traffic on both levels on the bridge|
|Up close and personal with the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge|
Thanks to Maria Riley of Life of Riley Communications for the photos.