In 1911 The Proposed McCarren Bridge Was To Replace The “Old” Brooklyn Bridge So It Could Be Reconstructed
From the New York Tribune of January 1, 1911 comes this illustration showing New York City with its existing bridges and some proposed new ones.
Sandwiched very tightly between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge connecting lower Manhattan with Brooklyn, is a proposed new bridge which was to be called the McCarren Bridge named after “Long Pat” McCarren (1847-1909) a state senator who was Brooklyn’s Democratic political boss during the late 1800’s.
Once the proposed McCarren Bridge became a reality, city engineers planned to close and rebuild the Brooklyn Bridge. The engineers feared that the increase in heavy traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge would necessitate additional strength being added, otherwise a support or cable might give way causing a horrible catastrophe. Borings were even made at the site, but the McCarren Bridge was never built.
Other proposed bridges in the illustration show the Hell Gate Bridge which was begun in 1912 and completed in 1916.
Further north on the Harlem River connecting upper Manhattan with the Bronx is another proposed bridge that was never built nestled between the University Heights/West 207th Street Bridge and Washington Bridge. This bridge would have been located at 177th Street in the Bronx and was to be called The Morris Heights Bridge.
Over Spuyten Duyvil connecting the tip of northern Manhattan with the Bronx is the proposed Hudson Memorial Bridge which was to be a highly ornamental concrete bridge. First proposed in 1909 in commemoration of the Hudson-Fulton ceremonies, the long delayed Henry Hudson Bridge was finally begun in 1935 and completed in 1936 and ended up being a steel arch bridge.
The need for a bridge connecting New Jersey with Manhattan had been desired for many years. So it should come as no surprise that three different possible locations were proposed in 1911 for what was then called The New York and New Jersey Interstate Bridge. The leading site candidates on the New York side were 57th Street, 110th Street and 179th Street.
The George Washington Bridge, was eventually constructed from 1927 – 1931 on the 179th Street site.
To alleviate traffic between New Jersey and New York, the Holland Tunnel (opened 1927) and Lincoln Tunnel (opened 1937) were built instead of more bridges. The later additions of the Midtown Tunnel (opened 1940) and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel (opened 1950) helped traffic flow between Manhattan to Queens and Brooklyn respectively.
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Great article. There is another article on the bridges of Manhattan that readers might find interesting at http://highbridgeparkdevelopment.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-bridges-of-manhattan.html