Brooklyn Bridge as the National Icon of the USA

The Brooklyn Bridge is a popular landmark in the New York City. The History and the Structure of the Brooklyn Bridge. The Bridge and American Culture. Ethnic and foreign responses to America, nationalism, memory, commemoration, popular culture.

Рубрика Культура и искусство
Вид реферат
Язык английский
Дата добавления 09.07.2013
Размер файла 13,1 K

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«Brooklyn Bridge as the National Icon of the USA»

The Brooklyn Bridge is a popular landmark in the New York City. Brooklyn Bridge had existed for the longest time in the United States. It is also one of the longest bridges in the United States. The bridge has a length of 6016 foot. It extends over the East River. It is connected with the Manhattan and Brooklyn boroughs. It has a neo gothic design. It was open to be accessible by the public in 1883. It is the world's longest suspension bridge. Hailed by some as the Eighth Wonder of the World when it opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the world's most recognizable and beloved icons. For over one hundred years it has excited and fascinated with stories of ingenuity and heroism, and it has been endorsed as a flawless symbol of municipal improvement and a prime emblem of American technological progress.

The History of the Brooklyn Bridge

Construction began in 1869. The Brooklyn Bridge was completed fourteen years later and was opened for use on May 24, 1883. On that first day, a total of 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 people crossed. The bridge's main span over the East River is 1,595 feet (486 meters). The bridge cost $18 million to build and approximately 27 people died during its construction. A week after the opening, on May 30, a rumor that the Bridge was going to collapse caused a stampede which crushed twelve people.

At the time it opened, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world -- fifty percent longer than any previously built -- and has become a treasured landmark. Additionally, for several years the towers were the tallest structures in the United States. Since the 1980s, it has been floodlit at night to display its architectural features. The architecture style is Gothic, with characteristic pointed arches above the passageways through the stone towers.

The bridge was designed by an architectural firm owned by John Augustus Roebling in Trenton, New Jersey. Roebling and his firm had built smaller suspension bridges, such as the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge in Cincinnati, Ohio and the Waco Suspension Bridge in Waco, Texas, that served as the engineering prototypes for the final design. As construction was beginning, Roebling's foot was seriously injured in an accident; within a few weeks, he died of tetanus. His son, Washington, succeeded him, but was stricken with caisson disease (decompression sickness), due to working in compressed air with the sandhogs, and was only capable of limited speech or movement. Washington's wife, Emily Warren Roebling, trained herself in engineering so she could communicate his wishes to the builders. When the bridge opened she was also the first person to cross it. Washington Roebling was unable to leave his home and watched the construction through a telescope.

At the time the bridge was built, the aerodynamics of bridge building had not been worked out. Bridges were not tested in wind tunnels until the 1950s - well after the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the 1940s. It is therefore fortunate that the open truss structure supporting the deck is by its nature less subject to aerodynamic problems. Roebling designed a bridge and truss system that was six times as strong as he thought it needed to be. Because of this, the Brooklyn Bridge is still standing when many of the bridges built around the same time have vanished into history and have been replaced. This is also in spite of the nefarious substitution of inferior quality wire in the cabling supplied by a contractor - by the time it was discovered it was too late to replace the cabling that had already been constructed. Roebling determined that the poorer wire would leave the bridge four rather than six times as strong as necessary, so it was eventually allowed to stand.

At various times, the bridge has carried horses and trolley traffic; at present, it has six lanes for motor vehicles, and a separate level for pedestrians and bicycles. The two inside lanes of the lower level once carried elevated trains of the BMT from Brooklyn points to a terminal at Park Row. Streetcars ran on what are now the two center lanes (shared with other traffic) until the BMT stopped using the bridge in 1944, when they moved to the protected center tracks. In 1954, the streetcars also stopped running, and the bridge was rebuilt to carry six lanes of automobile traffic.

The BMT bridge tracks were planned to connect to what is now the Nassau Street Line subway at Chambers Street to form part of the never-finished Centre Street Loop. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 17, 1977 and on March 24, 1983 the bridge was designated a National Historic Engineering Landmark.

The Structure of the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is built above the East River. It is located 1595 feet above the East River. There are two high stone towers. Each of the high stone towers is equipped with Neo Classical archways. Brooklyn Bridge has a length of 6016 feet and a width of 85 feet. It also has four steel cables. The steel cable has a length of 3578.50 feet long. It was opened in 1883. The length of the Brooklyn Bridge is twice times more than the second longest suspension bridge in the world.

brooklyn bridge american culture

The Bridge and American Culture

Brooklyn Bridge is a popular culture icon in the United States. It has been featured in several movies such as Deep Impact and Gangs of New York. More recently, it is featured in movie called “The Fantastic Four”. The bridge is also a discussion subject in the Ken Burns documentary. The Ken Burns documentary is broadcast on PBS television. David Cullough talks about the Brooklyn Bridge in his best selling nonfiction book. The bridge offers inspiration for major artists such as Walt Whitmand, Frank Llyod Wright, Hart Crane and Georgia O'Keefe.

Several festivals were held to commemorate the 125th anniversary since the opening of the bridge. The festivities were held on the 22nd May 2008. The first event in the 125th anniversary festival is the Brooklyn Philharmonic at the Empire-Fulto Ferry State Park. During the festivals, many information tents and lectures were organized. The festival also features a miniature golf course that exhibit the architectural icon in Brooklyn. Before the festival took place New York had setup a video link with London. The video link allows the people in New York to watch the people marching at the Tower Bridge in London. The anniversary celebration causes the new pedestrian to be connected to DUMBO.

Bringing together more than sixty images of the bridge that, over the years, have graced postcards, magazine covers, and book jackets and appeared in advertisements, cartoons, films, and photographs, Haw traces the diverse and sometimes jarring ways in which this majestic structure has been received, adopted, and interpreted as an American idea. Haw's account is not a history of how the bridge was made, but rather of what people have made of the Brooklyn Bridge-in film, music, literature, art, and politics-from its opening ceremonies to the blackout of 2003.

Classic accounts from such writers and artists as H. G. Wells, Charles Reznikoff, Hart Crane, Lewis Mumford, Joseph Pennell, Walker Evans, and Georgia O'Keeffe, among many others, present the bridge as a deserted, purely aestheticized romantic ideal, while others, including Henry James, Joseph Stella, Yun Gee, Ernest Poole, Alfred Kazin, Paul Auster, and Don DeLillo, offer a counter-narrative as they question not only the role of the bridge in American society, but also its function as a profoundly public, communal place. Also included are never-before-published photographs by William Gedney and a discussion of Alexis Rockman's provocative new mural Manifest Destiny.

Drawing on hundreds of cultural artifacts, from the poignant, to the intellectual, to the downright quirky, The Brooklyn Bridge sheds new light on topics such as ethnic and foreign responses to America, nationalism, memory, rituals and parade culture, commemoration, popular culture, and post-9/11 America icons. In the end, we realize that this impressive span is as culturally remarkable today as it was technologically and physically astounding in the nineteenth century.

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