The story of modern Queens began when the Queensboro Bridge (aka the Ed Koch Queensboro bridge, but nobody in Queens actually calls it that) opened for business in 1909. Before the great span opened, Queens was a patchwork of agricultural towns and villages that had more to do with Brooklyn and each other than with “the City”- as Manhattan was and is known. Queensboro sparked off an industrial revolution during the early 20th century, an age when Long Island City was referred to as the “workshop of America.”
According to the NYC DOT, the bridge carries better than 180,000 motorists and 800 bikers and pedestrians daily, using ten lanes for vehicles and one for foot and bike traffic. It’s 100 feet wide, 130 feet over the water, and at its longest point some 1,182 feet long. At one time it carried streetcar (trolley) tracks as well.
A great spot to contemplate the Queensboro Bridge is from the Penthouse808 rooftop lounge atop the Ravel Hotel at 8-08 Queens Plaza South.
– photos by Mitch Waxman