2012-12-26 / Features

Bayside Historical Society Honors Throgs Neck Bridge

BY JASON D. ANTOS


The Bayside Historical Society (BHS) is currently featuring an exhibit celebrating the Throgs Neck Bridge. The exhibition displays numerous images of its construction as well as personal memories of its development and opening. A photograph from the MTA Bridges and Tunnels Special Archive shows the construction of the Throgs Neck Bridge in 1959 as it makes its way towards Bayside. 
Photo Courtesy/MTA Bridges and Tunnels Special Archive The Bayside Historical Society (BHS) is currently featuring an exhibit celebrating the Throgs Neck Bridge. The exhibition displays numerous images of its construction as well as personal memories of its development and opening. A photograph from the MTA Bridges and Tunnels Special Archive shows the construction of the Throgs Neck Bridge in 1959 as it makes its way towards Bayside. Photo Courtesy/MTA Bridges and Tunnels Special Archive The Bayside Historical Society (BHS) is saluting one of the most notable and notorious bridge projects in Queens.

In recognition of its 50th anniversary, the BHS, at Fort Totten, is now displaying its exhibit on the Throgs Neck Bridge.

The exhibit features rare construction photographs culled from the society’s archives and from the MTA Bridges and Tunnels Special Archive.

“The construction of this span had a major affect on the entire Bayside community,” said Alison McKay, archivist for the BHS. “The bridge comes into Queens by way of the Clearview Expressway which cuts right through an already established part of the community.”

During its construction, some 421 private homes had to be demolished or moved to new foundations to make way for the 5.3 mile stretch known as “the expressway to nowhere”.

Other images were donated by notable photographer and bridge-scaler Dave Frieder.

An admirer of legendary photographer Ansel Adams, Frieder has earned fame for climbing every major bridge in New York City to photograph them and surrounding vistas.

He is also a fan of the Throgs Neck.

“It’s one of the more difficult to photograph from an artist’s point of view because it’s more ‘muscular’ in its design, although from inside, the Throgs Neck towers are identical to the Verrazano,” he said.

The exhibit displays numerous photographs of the construction as well as an aerial map of Bayside showing all the key locations that were either destroyed or removed for the Clearview Expressway.

Also on display are rare letters from residents appealing to their local elected officials and the MTA to not bring the expressway through their neighborhood.

“It’s a reminder of the days of Robert Moses, and how eminent domain affected thousands and thousands of people across the city in those days,” McKay said.

The Throgs Neck Bridge opened on Jan 11, 1961, and the name was derived from John Throckmorton, who settled in The Bronx in 1643, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge designer, Othmar Ammann, was the man behind the George Washington, Bronx- Whitestone, Verrazano-Narrows, and Robert F. Kennedy (formerly Triborough) Bridges.

The exhibit, which runs through 2013, also pays tribute to Bill Barnes, who was killed in an accident while working on the bridge in 2009.

For more information visit www.baysidehistorical.org.

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