Panorama of Manhattan South of Brooklyn BridgeBrooklyn was a vigorous and independent city, the third largest in the United States, when construction of the Brooklyn Bridge began. The cultural and social center of Brooklyn was the Heights, just south of the bridge. Lining the shore below the Heights and to the south were warehouses and factories serving the active port. The ferry lines carried over 50 million passengers per year, mostly commuters, to New York by 1870 and the numbers grew rapidly in the next decade.
Just 500 yards off the Manhattan shore, Governors Island was designated by the New York Assembly in 1689 "for the benefit and accommodation of His Majesty's Governors." It had been known until then as Nutten Island. A series of fortifications, dating from 1794, have made it a major administrative center for the U.S. Army. During the War of 1812 its strong defenses may have deterred the British attack of New York. The Coast Guard now occupies the site.
Liberty Island, formerly called Bedloe's Island, was the ideal site for the great statue France presented to the United States in 1884 to commemorate the long alliance of the two nations. Called "Liberty Enlightening the World," the stature was placed at the entrance to New York harbor by the sculptor, Frederic Bartholdt, where it could be seen by millions of immigrants arriving by boat. Gustav Eiffel designed the internal support of the 151 foot statue.
Panorama of Manhattan South of Brooklyn Bridge
With no skyscrapers to block the view, a person on the bridge in 1883 could see from Brooklyn to Staten Island and over Manhattan clear to the Hudson and the New Jersey shore. The bustle of the city's great port, one of the world's busiest, could be seen below. An unbroken necklace of piers lined the eastern shore of lower Manhattan to 11th Street. From this harbor, steam and sailing ships left for New England, California, South America and Europe. The narrow, densely built streets of the port were crowded with warehouses, shipyards and small factories as well as with residences. Soaring above the low buildings of the city were the spire of Trinity Church, 280 feet high, and the tower of the Tribune Building.
Ellis Island takes its name from its owner in the 18th century, Samuel Ellis. Acquired by the federal government in 1808, it became an active arsenal for the U.S. Navy. In 1890, Congress approved the location of the New York Immigration Center at Ellis Island; in the peak year of immigration, 1907, over 1.2 million people entered the United States there.
Designer: Keith Godard of Works
Text: Deborah Nevins. Graphics: Marnie Krooss
Sculpture: Domenico Pacci
Bronze Sculpture Foundry
Edward I. Koch, Mayor of the City of New York
Howard Golden, Borough President of Brooklyn
Andrew J. Stein, Borough President of Manhattan
The New York City Department of Transportation
|Placed By||The 1983 Brooklyn Bridge Centennial Commission|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 1:42pm PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||18T E 584927 N 4506392|
|Decimal Degrees||40.70406667, -73.99466667|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 40° 42.244', W 73° 59.68'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||40° 42' 14.64" N, 73° 59' 40.80" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Area Code(s)||718, 917, 347, 212|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 600-698 Brooklyn Bridge, Republic NY 11201, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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