simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Connections
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Friday, 25 January 2008


Bridges are typically very important structures, always providing that essential connection between here and there, but I can't imagine anywhere where they are more critical than in Manhattan, an island in a city of islands ( 4 out of 5 boroughs are islands or on islands - only the Bronx is on the mainland). Our survival is absolutely dependent on bridges and tunnels. Perhaps this is the one of many reasons bridges are so iconic here- we have many, they are well known and they are lifelines. Anything so essential that is simultaneously well designed takes on an additional beauty - that classic weave of form and function. Add to the equation the vistas and lights at night and you have a formula for the romantic.
Most find the intricate steelwork of the cantilevered Queensboro Bridge (formerly the 59th Street Bridge) attractive. It was designed by Gustav Lindenthal in collaboration with Leffert L. Buck and Henry Hornbostel and completed in 1909. You can read about its history and construction here. It is an NYC icon - one of the most recognizable bridges in the city. Some of my feelings about the bridge, however, are tarnished by my initial experience of it during its decades of neglect (it went through a renovation in 1987). In those early years, I saw it primarily from a utilitarian perspective - to get in and out of Manhattan and to afford vistas of the city and the river. It was more a symbol of what it could provide than how it actually looked.
If you want to see a true love affair with new York City, I highly recommend Manhattan by Woody Allen - it's opening montage of city images set to Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is wonderful, culminating with a fireworks display with NYC as backdrop (you can see the intro clip here.) There is a very famous scene in the film (it was used in posters for the film) of Woody and Diane Keaton sitting on a bench with a view of the Queensboro Bridge - click here.
This image, enmeshed with Gershwin, is one of my strongest connections to the bridge ...

Note about the film - be forewarned, however. Woody plays a 42-year-old who is dating a 17-year old high school girl. A little disturbing, almost foreshadowing his real life involvement with Soon-Yi Previn. Art predicts life again ...

Note about the photo: This photo was taken on East End Avenue looking south


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