"We found a pleasant place below steep little hills. And from among those hills a mighty deep-mouthed river ran into the sea." ? ? Giovanni da Verrazano, Italian explorer, 1524
Until the 1960s, the only way from Brooklyn to Staten Island was by water - first by Indian canoes, then boats and ferries. A railroad tunnel was started from Brooklyn in 1923, but never completed. Plans for a vehicular tunnel were studied in 1929 and 1942, but dropped. Finally, in 1946, the state of New York authorized a bridge to be built across the these Narrows.
Designed by Othmar Ammann, the bridge was started on August 13, 1959, by more than 1,000 workers. The "world's longest suspension bridge" when dedicated November 21, 1964, it was named for Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano, who discovered these Narrows 440 years earlier. For Staten Island, this bridge marked the beginning of a change from a rural landscape to today's urban environment.