2009-06-03 / Front Page

Bridge Centennial Starts

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (c.) links the hands of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (l.) and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall at a midpoint on the Queensboro Bridge during ceremonies hailing the 100th anniversary of the bridge opening in 1909. Mayor Michael Bloomberg (c.) links the hands of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (l.) and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall at a midpoint on the Queensboro Bridge during ceremonies hailing the 100th anniversary of the bridge opening in 1909. The NYC Bridge Centennial Commission celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Queensboro Bridge on Sunday, May 31, starting with a parade on the upper level of the bridge that featured marching bands, and vintage automobiles. Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall and Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. Sam Schwartz, president of the NYC Bridge Centennial Commission, and Francesca Lindenthal Gebhardt, daughter of Gustav Lindenthal, one of the bridge designers, were also present. The morning celebration ended with Marshall being driven across the bridge in a 1919 Dodge.

True bridge aficionados were able to begin celebrating the span even earlier. The Greater Astoria Historical Society conducted a walking tour across the bridge from Queens to Manhattan starting at 7:45 a.m. at the bridge ramp on 21st Street in Long Island City and another walking tour from Manhattan to Queens across the bridge started at 8 a.m. Both tours paused in mid-span to take part in the Centennial Ceremonial Parade with the Manhattan and Queens borough presidents and featuring the Sunnyside Drum Corps, the Francis Lewis H.S. Marching Band, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Fanfare Trumpets and a FDNY Fireboat multicolor salute.

At 9: 15 p.m. that same day, "The Candles on the Centennial Birthday Cake" a Grucci fireworks display, took place on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island. Hundreds gathered to watch the celebration at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City.

The trip over the bridge is part of a weeklong birthday celebration that includes exhibits, lectures and slide shows on the history, construction and impact of the bridge. For a complete list of events, visit www.nycbridges100.org.

Before the Queensboro Bridge opened in 1909, the borough of Queens was relatively sparsely settled and largely agricultural. The bridge, first conceived in 1838 and on which construction began in 1900, was instrumental to the borough's growth and development.

—Barbara Pascarelli

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