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Brooklyn Bridge

FDR Drive, New York City, New York

Extending for 1.3 miles (2 kilometers) across New York City's East River, this 19th-century bridge sees constant foot, bike, and car traffic thanks to commuters and sightseers alike. After a construction beset by tragedies—at least 20 people died during the building process—this steel-wire suspension bridge, then the world's largest, finally opened to the public in 1883.

Today crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is an essential New York experience. Visitors come in droves to admire the bridge's dramatic neo-Gothic towers and the stellar views of Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn waterfront.

The Brooklyn Bridge features on plenty of New York City walking tours and bike tours and offers spectacular views over the Manhattan skyline. For a whole new perspective of the Brooklyn Bridge, tours on the river aboard a sightseeing cruise are a great option. Alternatively, hop aboard a helicopter flight and buzz over the iconic structure and other area landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

  • In cooler months, wear an extra layer or two, as it can be colder and windier on the bridge than on street level.

  • The bridge's pedestrian path is narrow. Be careful not to veer into the adjacent bike lane.

  • Crossing the bridge on foot takes around 25 minutes, or longer if you pause for photographs.

From Manhattan, you can access the bridge's walkway from Park Row and Centre Street, opposite City Hall Park. The closest subway stations are Brooklyn Bridge–City Hall (4, 5, and 6 trains) and Chambers Street (J and Z). On the Brooklyn side, access the pedestrian walkway from Tillary Street and Adams Street in Brooklyn Heights. Here the nearest subway stations are Jay Street–MetroTech (A, C, and F), Court Street (N and R), and Borough Hall (2, 3, 4, and 5).

Avoid the morning and evening rush hours, when the bridge is congested with commuters. Weekends and evenings are generally quieter, and the bridge’s neo-Gothic towers are dramatically illuminated after dark.

John Roebling designed the bridge in the 1860s, but he never got to see his creation realized, as he died in 1869, before it was completed. After Roebling’s death, his son, Washington Roebling, and his wife, Emily, oversaw the construction.

On May 30, 1883, just a few days after its opening, the bridge was the site of a tragic stampede that killed 12 pedestrians. In 1884, to allay concerns about the bridge’s structural integrity of the bridge, circus owner P.T. Barnum had a troupe of 21 elephants, including the famous Jumbo, cross it.

Yes, you can tour the bridge, or experience the Brooklyn Bridge on your own. There are numerous itineraries that bring the New York icon to life, from walking and bike tours that cross the bridge to history tours. Helicopter and boat tours offer a different angle on the landmark.

Yes, walking the Brooklyn Bridge is worth it—especially on a clear day, or as the sun is starting to set. The bridge is a New York icon, and it's used daily by both locals and visitors to commute, soak up skyline views, and get fresh air and exercise.

The Brooklyn Bridge spans 1.1 miles (1.8 kilometers), although the pedestrian approaches to the bridge add distance. At a minimum, it takes around 30 minutes to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, especially given that crowded walkways can slow foot traffic. Many pedestrians choose to linger and admire the views.

The Brooklyn Bridge is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—there's no bad time to cross it. But to beat the crowd, go early in the morning. For the best views, cross it in the early evening, as the sun is starting to set and the city's lights twinkle.

The Brooklyn Bridge is open to all, and you don't need a ticket or a guide to access it. Whether you approach from Brooklyn or Manhattan, its pedestrian walkways are easily accessible. For an enhanced experience, you can take a guided walking or biking tour of the landmark.

Yes, you can see the Statue of Liberty from the Brooklyn Bridge. However, the bridge is nearly 3 miles (4 kilometers) northwest of the Statue of Liberty, so you'll have to keep your eyes peeled to spot it in the distance. For the best views, visit on a sunny day.


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