New York City’s bridges are iconic. The Brooklyn Bridge spanning the East River from Brooklyn to Manhattan was an engineering marvel and the root of an idiom about gullibility. Further upriver the Queensborough Bridge, which reached pop icon status as the Feeling Groovy bridge in a Simon and Garfunkel song, connects Queens to Manhattan. North of the Brooklyn Bridge the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges are as much sculptures as bridges as they reach from Brooklyn into Manhattan.
The George Washington Bridge towers over the Little Red Lighthouse as it connects New Jersey to Manhattan. The story of the Little Red Lighthouse, one I remember from childhood, is a lesson on civic engagement and how a small group can effect change. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge spans the mouth of the Hudson River between Staten Island and Brooklyn defining the southern boundary of NY Harbor. When constructed the Verrazano was the longest single suspension bridge in the world with a span of 4,260 feet. North of New York City proper is the graceful twin spans of the Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge which recently replaced the Tappan Zee Bridge. While lying outside the city limits, it is a major thoroughfare to NYC and the metro area carrying the NY State Thruway across the Hudson River. The State built the bridge at one of the widest sections of the Hudson, just outside of the Port of New York Authority’s jurisdiction.
The Throggs Neck, Whitestone, and Triborough bridges reach across the East River to the Bronx from Queens and Long Island. The view from the Throggs Neck Bridge is out over Long Island Sound to the north and south down the East River towards Manhattan. It is a bridge I have crossed dozens of times from my home near Syracuse to my parents’ home on Long Island. On each trip across the span I looked out over the waters of the Sound at the sailboats, wondering where they were going, what it was like, and yearning to be there rather stuck in traffic. I was envious.
Second Star and her crew have become one of those boats, twice.