Bridging the Big Apple: New York’s Iconic Crossings | The B1M

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From the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, the Big Apple is reknown for its landmarks. But while these structures give the city that
never sleeps its identity, it is the bridges spanning the city’s waterways that quite
literally unite the five boroughs and keep this vast metropolis moving. Standing the test of time, shattering records and uniting millions, these are the iconic crossings of New York. Starting at the entrance to New York Harbor
and linking Staten Island to Brooklyn, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge became the most
recent of New York’s crossings to have held the title of world’s longest bridge when it
first opened in 1964. With a central span of 1,298 metres, the bridge
was so long that its engineers had to rethink its design in order to avoid the bridge tearing
itself apart in strong winds. As with any large object, bridges impede wind
flow, creating turbulent vortices and regions of varying pressure around the structure. While this phenomenon creates a back and forth
motion in vertical structures like skyscrapers, for bridge decks the variations of high and
low pressure cause the deck to oscillate up and down, bending and flexing it to the point
of collapse as was the case with the infamous Tacoma Narrows bridge which collapsed due
to high winds in 1940. While single-deck bridges can overcome this
by creating a more streamlined profile that channels winds over and under the structure,
the same method can’t be used for double deck bridges like the Verrazzano-Narrows as
the turbulence created between the decks further amplifies the phenomenon and would create
dangerous conditions for drivers. We’ve used SimScale to simulate how wind passes
around the structure with areas of high wind speed shown in red. To address this challenge, engineers devised
a system of rigid steel lattice structures that stiffened the deck, allowing wind to
pass through the open roadway and making the bridge capable of resisting even the strongest
Atlantic storms. With more than 150,000 users worldwide, SimScale
is an easy-to-use cloud-based engineering simulation platform that enables everyone
to create powerful, high-fidelity simulations in a web browser. The platform can be tried for free through
the Community account, which gives access to thousands of public simulations to promote
knowledge sharing and to crowdsource advice. Despite the UK’s Humber Bridge overtaking
it as the world’s longest in 1981, Verrazzano-Narrows remains the longest bridge in the Americas
to this day. Arguably the most famous New York crossing
of all, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of three suspension structures – along with the Manhattan
and Williamsburg bridges – that cross the East River to connect Manhattan with Brooklyn. When it was completed in 1883, the Brooklyn
Bridge was the longest bridge in the world and provided the first permanent crossing
between New York’s commercial centre in Lower Manhattan and the bulk of the city’s
19th century workforce. While often referred to as a suspension bridge,
it is in fact a hybrid structure, utilising elements of both suspension and cable-stayed
bridge design. Standing 85 metres high, the Brooklyn Bridge’s
gothic inspired granite towers were the defining feature of the city when the crossing first
opened, dominating the skyline until the advent of the skyscraper. Now consisting of a pair of cable-stayed bridges,
the original Kosciuszko Bridge was constructed in 1939 to connect Brooklyn and Queens over
Newton Creek. Designed to carry 10,000 vehicles each day
when it first opened, the decision to replace the ageing structure was made in 2009 when
the bridge was carrying 18 times its intended capacity. In 2014, works began to construct a new five-lane
eastbound bridge adjacent to the existing structure. In order to construct the westbound bridge
the original Kosciuszko Bridge was destroyed in a controlled demolition on October 2017,
the first time such a method was used on a bridge in New York City. The eastbound bridge carried traffic in both
directions during the construction of its westbound counterpart, before both bridges
opening in their intended directions in August 2019 Linking Manhattan and the borough of Queens,
the aptly named Queensboro Bridge was officially renamed in 2011 to commemorate a former New York City Mayor, becoming the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. Of the four major structures that cross the
East River, the Queensboro Bridge is the only one to deviate from the suspension model opting
for a cantilever design to carry its double-deck roadway. With construction works first commencing in
1901, the bridge took until 1909 to complete due to a series of delays brought about by
labour disruptions and the partial collapse of one of the cantilevered spans. While construction accidents during the early
20th century were common by today’s standards, the collapse of the Queensboro Bridge was
the result of a storm rather than human error. Built in 1917, the Hell Gate Bridge is the
longest of the three bridges that form the Hell Gate Railroad Viaduct running through
Queens and The Bronx. While it was intended to operate as a four-track
freight and passenger crossing, one of its freight tracks was abandoned in the 1970’s
and it is now used predominantly for passenger services, forming part of Amtrak’s Northeast
Corridor linking Boston with Washington DC. Though relatively small in scale, the Hell
Gate Bridge’s design proved so iconic that it became the inspiration for one of the world’s
most recognisable structures, the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. Named after the first US President, the George
Washington Bridge is the only structure in New York City to cross the Hudson River, with
all other crossings from Manhattan to New Jersey
running through tunnels or via ferry. Opened in 1931 the 1,450 metre suspension
structures held the title of the world’s longest bridge until it was surpassed by the Golden
Gate Bridge in 1937. Designed by Cass Gilbert, the architect behind
the city’s iconic Woolworth Building, the bridge’s original design called for its
towers to be clad in granite. However, due to shifts in design trends and
as a cost saving measure, these plans were dropped leaving the robust steel lattice that
was designed to carry the extra intended weight as the bridge’s defining feature of the
bridge. If you enjoyed this video and would like to
get more from the definitive video channel for construction, subscribe to The B1M.


  1. The stat @1:00 is false, it wasn't the world's longest bridge. The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere and was completed in 1957.

    Edit: Statement is also incorrect at 3:10. C'mon guys.

  2. What about Whitestone and Throgs Neck? One of the photos you showed of the George Washington was telling. The bridge is at capacity and NYC is extremely vulnerable to long-term disaster. They NEED . . . TWO . . . two new bridges alongside the existing George Washington. NYC, New York State AND Washington D.C. NEEDS to move via eminent domaine in straightening some of I-90 so that lanes can be added separating local & USofA traffic at the State Line so that the existing bridge can carry local vehicular & local mass transit. The Connecticut I-90 needs to restore toll plazas so that traffic flow can be regulated. It might be a good thing to consider a new bridge connecting the Hutchinson Parkway to Long Island. Thru-traffic should have elevation preference so that all Americans can experience NYC even though only passing through (high rises). The straightening should also happen close to the Bronx Zoo so that an 'opera-house (consult me on this one)' can occur. Local traffic should be covered so that emergency vehicles have year-round (snow emergency) protections. AND the NYC Subway NEEDS a sense of completion so that city commuters don't have to play soccer . . . with parking garages (park & ride) along every exit/access on I-90.

  3. Fred is this all your own work? In my mind you write and direct but have editors. please tell me The B1M is all your precious baby???
    Either way, this channel is in my top 3 easily. Such quality content my man.

  4. I recommend, that you check out, or make a video about ongoing megaproject in the Baltic states – "Rail Baltica". There is an impressive station design in tallinn, as well as in Riga. That would be a great video!

  5. B1M is unfair. The channel only showing the popular cities and countries, while the other project in other countries are super rare to be found in this channel.

  6. Good video and all but what about the oldest bridge in New York City… THE HIGHBRIDGE! There’s a great history about that bridge

  7. Goethels and Outer bridge crossings that take you out of Staten Island after entering through the Verrazano Narrows not in NYC?

  8. Ignore this comment as this is a personal msg for someone

    For michael
    Its alright..and im not sure if those songs are for you but ill still comment that its alright just to give u peace of mind.
    Take care

  9. The Bayonne Bridge deserves being mentioned, especially because they just raised the deck in a huge renovation project

  10. Love this video and the B1M in general,
    but you missed some NYC bridges.

    1. The bridges connecting Staten island and new jersey, the Goethals Bridge and the Bayonne Bridge.

    2. And the many Bronx – Manhattan bridges

    3. You, in general, should have spoken more on the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges

    And with regards from NYC!

  11. My folks just got back from yet another trip the the Big Apple (from way up here in western Canada) and will continue going back as they love how iconic in so many ways the city – and its crossings – is / are. Thank you for your careful, thoughtful and poignant analysis, particularly of this classic behemoth among cities. As a photographer and lover of such spans, I'm in awe and await my turn at being among these ancient structures.

  12. I suggest clarification re "longest bridge" usage. Re suspension bridges, I think the basis for the claim is based on length of main span, length between supporting towers.

  13. I wish you had included the new Tappan Zee bridge, although this CA viewer is pretty sure it’s outside the five boroughs.

  14. Isn’t the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan the longest suspension bridge in the Americas???? also i’m quite sure tractor trailers are not allowed on the upper deck of the Verrazano Narrows bridge because the wind would blow them over.

  15. I absolutely LOVE New York City's river crossings. I live in New Jersey and love driving to NYC. My favorite bridge by far is the Verrazano–Narrows. Such an impressive structure.

  16. You're not pronouncing it right. It's Kos-key-use-ko. It's also Hell's Gate, not Hell Gate, and the Bayonne Bridge inspired both it and the Sydney Bridge.

  17. Far out mate, your channel has grown like crazy, I remember 20K!!! Legend man makes me feel good being nothing but a hard working labourer

  18. Great video. I definitely would love to see you do a video of all the bridges in NYC. It probably would be difficult being that there are many bridges. I'm talking major bridges though. But anyways, I always enjoy your content.

  19. They didn’t mention the Verrazano bridge was the first bridge built that had to take the curvature of the earth into account.

  20. and then some ignorant came and argue with me saying that African countries are the same as the USA ….there are many ppl who don't want to confess about the truth and that their countries are nothing compared to USA and west of europe

  21. I drove over the Kosciuszko Bridge just the other night. I didn't realise it was as new as it is, nor that it had the same name as Australia's highest mountain. I remember being stuck on its predecessor a few years ago.

  22. Do you mean longest suspension bridge? Because it's not the longest in the Country. Back home in New Orleans the Causeway is the longest bridge at 24 miles

  23. Im Spanish and business student, I had never been interested in construction til I've discovered this channel, plus ur top-noch narration helps me to improve my English, satisfies me a lot. Thanks.

  24. I have only recently discovered The B1M Channel. And, I must admit that it's probably one of the best on YouTube. Thank you, for the great work.

  25. um Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is the longest in the America's? Not even close: Confederation Bridge linking Prince Edward Island to the Mainland is almost 13km long

  26. New york city is a masterpiece, when it comes to modernisation & infrastructures, nyc probably influenced most of other major cities on earth

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