, the NYC Parks Commissioner
in 1933, created the Marine Parkway Authority
to develop a bridge that would connect Flatbush
Avenue in Brooklyn
to the Rockaway
s, which was a mildly developed peninsula
. Opposition to the planned bridge came from ferries and operator
s of the Floyd Bennet
Airfield, which was on the Brooklyn end of the proposed location. Landowners also feared that ice would build up at the location, which would flood the Rockaway Bay and Inlet. Moses belayed these fears by choosing a design from Madigan and Hyland, a civil engineering firm
. The design incorporated a center lifting span to allow boats and ferries to travel into the Rockaway Inlet. The span area allowed ice flows to pass easily, and they drove 600 Douglas fir trees into the sand to protect the pilings from ice and the occasional boat.
In 1938, Moses merged the Marine Parkway Authority with the Triborough Bridge Authority. The new bridge helped to spur developments along both ends of the bridge. The bridge created a shortcut that removed a 30 mile circuitous route to reach the Rockaways. Moses also oversaw the development of recreational areas on the Rockaway Inlet, including the Jacob Riis Park, which was the first oceanfront beach in New York City developed specifically for the benefit of motorists. On the Brooklyn side, he created Marine Park, which was a recreational facility that included a marina and a golf course. These parks, along with Floyd Bennett Field and Fort Tilden, were incorporated into the Gateway National Recreation Area in 1974. Since the bridge was designed to compliment the NYC Parks and Recreation plan, a walkway for pedestrians was included in the original design. This walkway is part of the recreational trail called the Rockaway Greenbelt.
The Marine Parkway Bridge was co-renamed the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge in 1978. Gil was a first baseman for the old Brooklyn Dodgers and a manager for the New York Mets.
Marine Parkway Bridge Specifications
Bridge Type: Vertical lift-span
Started: June 1, 1936
Opened: July 3, 1937
Designed by: Madigan and Hyland, Inc.
Main lift: 540 feet
Total: 4,022 feet
Mean Clearance: 55 feet
Clearance, Lift Raised: 150 feet
Steel in spans and towers: 7,600 tons
Steel in deck spans: 3,800 tons
Concrete in truss piers: 24,000 cubic yards
Concrete in deck spans: 23,000 cubic yards
Cost of original structure: $12,170,00000
Spans: Rockaway Inlet (New York)
Traffic Lanes: 4
Pedestrian: 5 foot pedestrian walkway
Current toll: $1.75
Original Toll: $0.15
Traffic, 1937: 5,000 vehicles/day
1998: 25,000 vehicles/day
Time to raise: 2 minutes / 95 feet
When I was living in New Yawk, I loved this bridge. When my father would pick me up in Far Rockaway to bring me to his house in Brooklyn, he would go over the Marine Parkway Bridge. This was the point where I knew we were almost home. I enjoyed looking at the cool National Guard aircraft that was visible off of Flatbush Avenue. If I was lucky, we would be stopped so they could raise the bridge.
Thanks go to Perdedor for the inspiration.
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