Blogpost # 918    JEWEL IN THE CROWN

It would, be accurate to (merely) refer to the Brooklyn Bridge, as a conveyance, constructed, in the mode of an engineering hybrid, combining cable and suspension elements, and spanning New York’s East River, between the Boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, that It opened for bridge traffic May 23, 1883, and, further, that at the time of its opening, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world.

Nevertheless, the statement would be shamefully, insufficient as an adequate or appropriately, respectful, reference to this unique American icon, this veritable (architectural and historical) jewel in the National crown, presently celebrating its one hundred and fortieth birthday. In fact, in our view, there exists no greater nor more articulate, expression of human creativity nor aesthetic beauty and pragmatic accomplishment, to be seen in the contemporary Western world.

Those who, by means of literature and film, may be aware of the early, New York City street scene, are aware of its overcrowded indeed, veritably, claustrophobic, atmosphere.  Streets were so overcrowded with pedestrians, horses and wagons, tradespeople, and pushcarts that pedestrian travel was, by necessity, often effected between rooftops. The ghetto-like, over-crowdedness was unhealthy, as well as physically, confining. Diseases such as the dreaded, tuberculosis, enjoyed the unhealthy windfall of filthy streets, redolent of horse droppings and a myriad of other pernicious sources of infection.

With the opening of this life-changing, bridge, the affected (and infected) New York Boroughs were opened up to travel to the outer reaches of the City and State for healthier air and robust commerce. The new and wondrous conveyance was, especially for the economically, modest residents of New York City, a miraculous means to a less confining and more rewarding life.

European critics and New World naysayers, were, irrefutably, made aware, of the demonstrated, miracle of New World (American) capability, empirically, demonstrated by the Herculean erection of this marvelous suspension bridge, and, that a well-earned and appropriate, respect for the former, English colonies, previously, existentially, threatened by a disastrous Civil War, was, indeed, warranted.

The Bridge, officially certified as a National Historic Landmark, is a strikingly, beautiful edifice, with roadways passing through magnificent portals of gigantic gothic archways, asserting themselves as no less than, appropriately, triumphal. In our view, the Brooklyn Bridge invests the entire East Side of New York City, with the grand and elevated context of a permanent outdoor art and history museum, as well as an everlasting symbol of American ingenuity and courageous accomplishment.


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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