Happy Birthday, Brooklyn Bridge

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New York City's Brooklyn Bridge will light up at night this weekend in honor of its 125th birthday. The bridge was built stronger than necessary at the time, so it held up through the transfer from horse-drawn carriages to cars and trucks.


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man (Singer): (Singing) Isn't she a beauty? Isn't she a queen? Nicest bridge that I have ever seen.

SIMON: The Brooklyn Bridge will light up at night over this holiday weekend in observance of its 125th anniversary. When it opened, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world, almost 6,000 over the East River, the iron tie that still binds Manhattan to Brooklyn, with Gothic towers of limestone, granite and Rosendale cement.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: It was, of course, designed by John Augustus Roebling, who laid out a bridge that was not only twice as long as any other in the world at the time but supported with a truss system that was six times as strong as required.

So as cars and trucks replaced the horse and carriage and got heavier the Brooklyn Bridge has not so much as shuddered. It is still standing when most other bridges of the time have been replaced, and on September 11, 2001, it held tens of thousands of people who tramped home over the bridge when the Twin Towers fell.

Over the years, the Brooklyn Bridge has become a symbol of New York's energy and ambition. By the way, if somebody approaches you, the bridge is already owned by the New York City Department of Transportation, and they are not looking to sell it.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man: (Singing) I've you've been a rover, journey's end lies over the Brooklyn Bridge. Don't let no one tell you I've been trying to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. Folks in Manhattan are sad 'cuz they look at her and wish they had the good old Brooklyn Bridge.

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