Queensboro Bridge

The maps and pictures further below illustrate material related to Queensboro Bridge. The Queensboro Bridge, also known as the 59th Street Bridge – because its Manhattan end is located between 59th and 60th Streets – and officially titled the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, is a cantilever bridge over the East River in New York City that was completed in 1909. It connects the neighborhood of Long Island City in the borough of Queens with Manhattan, passing over Roosevelt Island. It carries New York State Route 25 and is the westernmost of the four East River spans that carry a route number: NY 25 terminates at the west (Manhattan) side of the bridge, which once carried NY 24 and NY 25A as well. The bridge is flanked on its northern side by the freestanding Roosevelt Island Tramway.

In December 2010, the bridge was renamed in honor of former New York City mayor Ed Koch.


Serious proposals for a bridge linking Manhattan to Long Island City were first made as early as 1838 and attempts to finance such a bridge were made by a private company beginning in 1867. Its efforts never came to fruition and the company went bankrupt in the 1890s. Successful plans finally came about in 1903 under the city's new Department of Bridges, led by Gustav Lindenthal (who was appointed to the new position of Commissioner of Bridges in 1902), in collaboration with Leffert L. Buck and Henry Hornbostel, designers of the Williamsburg Bridge.

Construction soon began, but it would take until 1909 for the bridge to be completed due to delays from the collapse of an incomplete span during a windstorm and from labor unrest (including an attempt to dynamite one span). The bridge opened to the public on March 30, 1909, having cost about $18 million and 50 lives. A ceremonial grand opening was held on June 12, 1909. It was then known as the Blackwell's Island Bridge, from an earlier name for Roosevelt Island. Between 1930 and 1955, there was a vehicular elevator to transport cars and passengers to and from Welfare Island, now known as Roosevelt Island. This was demolished in 1970.

The Queensboro Bridge is a double cantilever bridge, as it has two cantilever spans, one over the channel on each side of Roosevelt Island. The bridge does not have suspended spans, so the cantilever arm from each side reaches to the midpoint of the span. The lengths of its five spans and approaches are as follows:

  • Manhattan to Roosevelt Island span length (cantilever):
  • Roosevelt Island span length:
  • Roosevelt Island to Queens span length (cantilever):
  • Side span lengths:
  • Total length between anchorages:
  • Total length including approaches:

Until it was surpassed by the Quebec Bridge in 1917, the span between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island was the longest cantilever span in North America.


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Close places of interest

Roosevelt Island Tramway (0.11 km)

The Roosevelt Island Tramway is an aerial tramway in New York City that spans the East River and connects Roosevelt Island to Manhattan. Prior to the completion of the Mississippi Aerial River Transit in May 1984 and the Portland Aerial Tram in December 2006, it was the only commuter aerial tramway in North America. Over 26 million passengers have used the tram since it began operation in 1976. Each cabin has a capacity of up to 110 people and makes approximately 115 trips per day. The tram moves at about and travels in 3 minutes.

63rd Street Tunnel (0.34 km)

The 63rd Street Tunnel carries the 63rd Street Line of the New York City Subway under the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens. It is the newest of the East River tunnels, and the newest river crossing in the New York metropolitan area. Construction of the 63rd Street Tunnel began on November 24, 1969, and the tunnel was holed through beneath Roosevelt Island on October 10, 1972. However, completion of the tunnel was delayed by New York City's fiscal crisis of the 1970s.

Rockefeller University (0.64 km)

The Rockefeller University is an American private university located in New York City in the United States, offering postgraduate and postdoctoral education. It conducts research mainly in biological sciences and medical science, and has produced or attracted many Nobel laureates. The Rockefeller University is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, between 63rd and 68th Streets along York Avenue. Marc Tessier-Lavigne—previously executive vice president of research and chief scientific officer at Genentech—became the university's tenth president on March 16, 2011.

First Avenue (Manhattan) (0.74 km)

First Avenue is a north-south thoroughfare on the East Side of the New York City borough of Manhattan, running from Houston Street northbound for over 125 blocks before terminating at the Willis Avenue Bridge into The Bronx at the Harlem River near East 127th Street. South of Houston Street, the roadway continues as Allen Street south to Canal Street. Traffic on First Avenue runs northbound (uptown) only.

Other mentions of Queensboro Bridge

Queens Boulevard

Queens Boulevard is a major thoroughfare in the New York City borough of Queens connecting Midtown Manhattan, via the Queensboro Bridge, to Jamaica. It forms part of New York State Route 25. Queens Boulevard runs northwest to southeast across a little short of half the length of the borough, starting at Queens Plaza at the Queensboro Bridge entrance in Long Island City and running through the neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Woodside, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, and Briarwood before terminating at Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica.
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