Hell Gate Bridge Centennial
March 9th, 2017 marked 100 years to the day when the Hell Gate Bridge – the railroad bridge which spans the East River – opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the crossing of the first train in 1917.
The centennial birthday event was held at the Greater Astoria Historical Society (GAHS) on Broadway in Astoria. The organization celebrated with a birthday cake and presentation by Dave Frieder. Known as “The Bridge Man,” Mr. Frieder shared a history of the bridge to a packed house. According to Frieder, prior to the Hell Gate’s construction in 1917, if you wanted to travel from Washington, DC to Boston, you would have had to interrupt your journey to take ferries in the NYC area. The bridge enabled east coast travelers and freight to make the journey uninterrupted. The architecture of the bridge, designed by Gustav Lindenthal, was so superior, that when the signature arch span came together in the middle they were only off by 5/16 of an inch. Drinks and cake followed the end of the presentation, which included a slide show of Frieder’s photographs taken atop the Hell Gate Bridge.