The bridges that traverse the East River are all more than a century old, making them some of the best-known bridges in the world – especially since they’ve been used so often in literature, art, movies, TV shows, and even songs. Seeing these tourist attractions on a Skyline Cruise as you leisurely sail under them, taking photos with your friends, is an ideal way to commemorate the experience.
The Queensboro Bridge
Also known as the 59th St. Bridge, the Queensboro Bridge was renamed the “Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge” in 2010 in honor of the former New York City mayor. While plans for the bridge originally began in 1838, the project was long delayed and even stopped for a time until 1903, when it resumed in earnest. The Queensboro Bridge officially opened in 1909 and Skyline Princess passengers can get a good look at this two-level, double cantilever bridge. For its 100th anniversary, the American Society of Civil Engineers added it to the list of National Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.
After the Brooklyn Bridge, which is older, the Queensboro Bridge might be the New York bridge most celebrated in pop culture. F. Scott Fitzgerald writes about it in the classic novel, The Great Gatsby: “The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.”
Other notable mentions of the Queensboro Bridge:
- The Simon & Garfunkel song “The 59th Street Bridge (Feelin’ Groovy)” refers to the Queensboro Bridge
- The upper deck of the bridge is shown in the opening credits of the TV show Taxi
- Rapper MC Shan mentions it in his song “The Bridge”
- The video for Billy Joel’s “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” was primarily filmed on the bridge
- In the comedy movie Anger Management, Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson stop their car on the Queensboro Bridge to sing “I Feel Pretty”
The Williamsburg Bridge
Spanning the East River to connect the Lower End of Manhattan to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the bridge opened in 1903. It was originally used for railways and trolley lines but was converted for car use in 1932.
In 1959-1961, jazz musician Sonny Rollins went to the Williamsburg Bridge almost every day to practice his saxophone to avoid bothering a pregnant neighbor. He named his 1962 album “The Bridge” after the Williamsburg Bridge.
- Artist Edward Hopper named his 1928 painting “From the Williamsburg Bridge” because it depicted a building as seen from the bridge.
- The bridge is mentioned in the novels A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Alienist and City of Bones, the first book in The Mortal Instruments series.
Connecting Lower Manhattan with downtown Brooklyn, the Manhattan Bridge opened in 1909 and is one of the suspension bridges that cross the East River. After opening, a grand entrance on the Manhattan side was added in 1915 as part of a “City Beautiful” project. The arch and colonnade that serve as that entrance were designated a New York City landmark in 1975. The bridge led to part of NYC being nicknamed “DUMBO” for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.”
While less celebrated than the Brooklyn Bridge or the Queensboro Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge was featured in the films Eat Pray Love, Blue Valentine, The Taking of Pelham 123, Ghostbusters, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Extremely Loud Incredibly Close. Manhattan Bridge Loop is 1928 painting by Edward Hopper.
For a unique and fun view of classic New York Harbor landmarks, book a Skyline Cruise. Whether you want a cozy dinner for two, a private deck rental on one of our public dinner cruises or you want to charter the Skyline Princess for a special occasion, the event planners at Skyline Cruises will work with you to make it perfect. All of our public cruises leave from the World’s Fair Marina in Flushing, Queens, where parking is always free. Contact us for more information. We look forward to cruising with you!