Happy 70th, Whitestone Bridge
Seventy years ago today, cars began crossing the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.
At the opening ceremony, on April 29, 1939, Robert Moses proclaimed it “The finest suspension bridge of them all.” That was a bold claim, considering, as one example, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge — almost four times as long as the Whitestone at 1.7 miles long — had opened two years earlier.
Still, the 2,300-foot-long Bronx-Whitestone was a major crossing, making it easier for people in the Bronx, Westchester and other northern suburbs to get to Queens and Long Island. In fact, it was timed to open the day before the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Here, courtesy of the MTA Bridges and Tunnels Special Archive, is a photo of the bridge when it was being built.
Bridges tend to become such crucial links that it is hard to imagine a time before them. This was a key span over Long Island Sound. Keep in mind, the Throgs Neck Bridge would not be built for another 22 years, in an entirely different age, when Long Island had filled with suburbanites after World War II. The Throgs Neck span was built to alleviate traffic on the Bronx-Whitestone.
The Bronx-Whitestone was built in 22 months. In its first year 6 million cars and trucks crossed it, said MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Susan Kupferman. Last year, 43 million crossed it.