Williamsburg Bridge, bridges on new york

Ultimate Guide to the Bridges of New York City

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The bridges of New York hold a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers. Not only do these bridges help commuters and tourists get around the city, but these massive structures also symbolize the Big Apple’s cultural and economic importance. Along with the Empire State Building and Central Park, there are recognizable NYC bridges like the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Bow Bridge.

You’ll find impressive bridges in Manhattan and the other boroughs of New York City. Some are for pedestrians only, while others have multiple lanes of traffic, but they all provide lovely views of the city and its surroundings. Plus, you may be surprised by how old some of these bridges are!

Of course, New York’s major bridges are necessary for transportation, but they’re also some of the most interesting places to see in NYC. Even some of the smaller bridges are worth checking out, so I’m sharing the 10 best bridges in New York to ensure you don’t miss any.

How many bridges are in New York City?

In total, there are 2,027 bridges in NYC! However, many are very small, and you can’t even walk across some of them. NYC’s Department of Transportation oversees the maintenance of 789 bridges and tunnels, including the famous Holland Tunnel. Manhattan alone is connected to the rest of New York by 21 bridges.

That said, this article focuses solely on the most notable bridges in New York City. There’s the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, one of the city’s designated landmarks, and smaller walkways like the Bow Bridge in Central Park.

Below, I’ll share the 10 best bridges in New York that you must see while visiting the Big Apple.

1. Brooklyn Bridge, the most famous bridge in New York

The Brooklyn Bridge is easily considered the most famous bridge in New York City. As an iconic symbol of the Big Apple, the bridge is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and one of the most popular viewpoints in NYC.

You can walk, jog, bike, or drive across the Brooklyn Bridge. The pedestrian promenade is particularly beautiful, offering a panorama of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the New York skyline. The views are especially impressive after dark, making this an excellent place to visit in NYC at night.

Brooklyn Bridge, bridges in new york

1. Brooklyn Bridge, the most famous bridge in New York

During the day, it’s worth spending some time at Brooklyn Bridge Park, one of the best parks in NYC. Another option is taking this walking tour of the Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO.

The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-suspension bridge, and when it was completed in 1883, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It has a total length of 6,016 feet and connects Lower Manhattan to DUMBO, Brooklyn. It’s free to cross this bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn, so check it out and take your time to admire the views of the East River and the Manhattan skyline.

2. Manhattan Bridge, a photogenic bridge in New York City

The Manhattan Bridge in New York City is another famous landmark, appearing on both the U.S. and the New York State Register of Historic Places. This suspension bridge was built between 1901 and 1909 to connect Lower Manhattan to Downtown Brooklyn. With a total length of 6,885 feet, the bridge is accessible by foot, bike, car, or subway.

I recommend starting in Manhattan and crossing over the East River into Brooklyn, where you can explore DUMBO, one of the borough’s best neighborhoods. From the Manhattan side, you can see the beautiful plaza featuring a Beaux Arts-style arch and colonnade.

Manhattan Bridge, bridges of manhattan

2. Manhattan Bridge, a photogenic bridge in New York City

In addition to being one of the most recognized bridges in NYC, the Manhattan Bridge’s paint color is the official color of Manhattan, known as “Manhattan Bridge Blue.” However, over time, the color has turned into more of a steel gray.

Also, I can’t talk about the Manhattan Bridge without mentioning its iconic photo spot on Washington Street. Located in Brooklyn, this is one of the best places to take pictures in NYC, granting you an incredible shot of the bridge with DUMBO’s red brick buildings on either side. If you position yourself just so, you can get the Empire State Building framed beneath the bridge’s arch.

3. Williamsburg Bridge, another popular bridge in New York

The Williamsburg Bridge is another major bridge in NYC, although it’s usually less crowded than the Brooklyn Bridge. This suspension bridge crosses the East River from Manhattan’s Lower East Side to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When it was completed in 1903, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, with a total length of 7,308 feet.

Williamsburg Bridge, can you walk across the williamsburg bridge

3. Williamsburg Bridge, another popular bridge in New York

Today, the bridge is still one of the most impressive structures in the city. Both ends of the bridge feature unique views and landmarks, such as the elevated promenade on the Manhattan side. On the Brooklyn side, there is the Continental Army Plaza and its famous statue of George Washington.

You can cross the Williamsburg Bridge on foot, by bike, in a car, or on the New York City subway. From the bridge, you’ll have nice views of Domino Park and the Manhattan skyline. I recommend starting in Manhattan and crossing the bridge to Brooklyn so you can spend some time in Williamsburg. Known as an artsy and multi-cultural neighborhood, Williamsburg is home to interesting shops and museums, as well as delicious NYC restaurants like Peter Luger Steak House. Williamsburg also has a large Jewish population, so on the Brooklyn end of the bridge, you’ll find two signs in Yiddish displaying the common phrases “Oy Vey!” and “Fuhgeddaboudit.”

4. Queensboro Bridge, a beautiful pedestrian-friendly bridge in New York

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, also called the 59th Street Bridge, travels from Midtown Manhattan to Long Island City, Queens. This cantilever truss bridge spans the East River and runs parallel to the Roosevelt Island Tram, offering beautiful views of NYC.

In addition, the Queensboro Bridge is a free pedestrian bridge in NYC, so it’s worth taking a stroll across it. Just be careful because the pathway is for both pedestrians and bicyclists. Another interesting tidbit about this bridge is that it’s part of the race route for the New York City Marathon, which takes place every November.

Queensboro Bridge, bridges in new york city map

4. Queensboro Bridge, a beautiful pedestrian-friendly bridge in New York

This bridge also holds a lot of history. When it first opened in 1909, it was named after the borough of Queens, but in 2011, it was renamed to include an homage to former NYC mayor Ed Koch.

Stretching a total of 7,449 feet, it’s often less crowded than the other major New York bridges, offering a quick way to get from Manhattan to Queens. If you have time to explore, check out the Queensboro Oval on York Avenue between E. 59th and 60th Streets in Manhattan. It’s an oval-shaped sports and recreation facility with several red-clay tennis courts and a softball field.

5. Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, the longest bridge in New York City

The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is a bridge to Staten Island from Brooklyn. It gets its name from the Narrows, a strait in New York Bay, and Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European explorer to enter New York Harbor.

With a total length of 13,700 feet, it’s the longest bridge in New York City and the longest suspension bridge in North and South America. This bridge is for vehicular traffic only, boasting 13 lanes of traffic for commuters, tourists, and commercial transportation. It hovers 228 feet above the water, offering views of the Lower Manhattan skyline and Fort Wadsworth, a Staten Island landmark.

Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, how many bridges connect to manhattan

5. Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, the longest bridge in New York City

The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge was built between 1959 and 1964. The original plan was to have a tunnel linking Brooklyn to Staten Island, but residents opposed it. Instead, the bridge became one of the most impressive structures in the city.

Due to its massive size, you can see the bridge from several different parts of NYC. The best views are in Brooklyn, specifically in Coney Island, on the Brooklyn Promenade, and in Bay Ridge at the Shore Park and Parkway.

6. Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, one of the busiest New York bridges

Formerly known as the Triborough Bridge, the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge is a complex of elevated viaducts and bridges connecting Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. This New York bridge is comprised of a vertical-lift bridge over the Harlem River, a truss bridge over Bronx Kill, and a suspension bridge over Hell Gate. All three sections are linked by elevated highway viaducts.

The Triborough Bridge first opened in 1936 and was renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in 2008 at the request of the Kennedy family. All three spans of the bridge provide panoramic city views and are accessible to pedestrians, buses, and cars. The longest part of the bridge is the Queens span, which measures 2,780 feet long (the Bronx span is 1,600 feet, and the Manhattan span is 770 feet).

Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, new york city bridges tolls

6. Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, one of the busiest New York bridges

From the Triboro Plaza in East Harlem, you can take the RFK Bridge across the Harlem River, over Randalls Island, and across the East River into Queens. The bridge runs above the southwestern corner of Astoria Park, a must-see in Astoria, Queens.

Alternatively, once you cross the Harlem River, you can take the bridge to the Bronx. To the west, you can go to Yankee Stadium, while to the east, you can visit New York Botanical Garden. Both are excellent places to visit in the Bronx.

7. George Washington Bridge, a double-decker bridge in New York

The George Washington Bridge is a double-decked bridge in New York. It opened in 1931, although its lower level wasn’t added until 1962. It’s a significant bridge; not only is it named after the first President of the United States, but it also boasts one of the largest American flags. Measuring 60 feet by 90 feet, the flag was first flown in 1947 to celebrate the Allies’ victory in World War II.

George Washington Bridge, new york bridges at night

7. George Washington Bridge, a double-decker bridge in New York

This suspension bridge runs from New Jersey to New York, specifically from Fort Lee, NJ, to Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan. It sits 212 feet above the Hudson River, and at 4,760 feet long, it was the longest main bridge span in the world until the Golden Gate Bridge opened.

Given its prime location between Manhattan and New Jersey, the George Washington Bridge is one of the busiest bridges in the country. There are 14 lanes of traffic and two sidewalks that are accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists. The views from the bridge are very nice, offering a vista of Harlem, NY and Hudson Park in NJ.

8. The High Bridge, the oldest bridge in New York City

The High Bridge is a unique landmark with a rich history. Spanning the Harlem River, this Manhattan bridge goes to the Bronx and measures 1,450 feet long. It’s a steel arch bridge and doesn’t permit vehicular traffic, only allowing pedestrians and bicyclists.

Originally, this bridge was part of the Croton Aqueduct, which carried water from Manhattan to the Bronx. It first opened in 1848, making it the oldest bridge in New York City. Back then, it was called the Aqueduct Bridge, and it had 16 beautiful stone arches.

The High Bridge, list of bridges in new york city

8. The High Bridge, the oldest bridge in New York City

Over the years, the High Bridge has undergone renovations and changes. Part of it was rebuilt in 1927, and the entire bridge closed in 1970, completely shutting down until 2015 when it was reopened as a walkway for foot traffic.

While it’s not a major bridge, it’s a historic part of the city, and the views from the High Bridge are excellent. In addition to the river and the surrounding scenery, you can see Highbridge Park along the Harlem River. Located in Washington Heights, Manhattan, the park has several playgrounds, a bathhouse, two pools, and the famous 200-foot-tall High Bridge Water Tower.

9. Bow Bridge, a romantic bridge in New York’s Central Park

Another small but important bridge is the Bow Bridge in Central Park. Named for its arc-like shape, which resembles an archer’s bow, the Bow Bridge is the oldest cast-iron bridge in Central Park and the second-oldest in the U.S.

The bridge is beautiful any time of year, and it has a romantic air about it, whether you’re visiting it in real life or seeing it depicted in the movies. It’s 87 feet long and crosses the Lake, one of Central Park’s main attractions. It features Classical Greek design reminiscent of Victorian-era architecture and offers a great view of the rowboats on the Lake as well as the Fifth Avenue skyline.

Bow Bridge, bridges central park

9. Bow Bridge, a romantic bridge in New York’s Central Park

The Bow Bridge was completed in 1862 and continues to be a huge draw for visitors to the park, particularly couples. But it’s not the only famous bridge in Central Park, New York. I also recommend going to the Gapstow Bridge, an old-fashioned stone bridge at the Pond. This small, charming bridge looks like something out of a fairytale, especially during the spring when it’s embraced by greenery and vines.

The Gapstow Bridge was originally built in 1874 but had to be rebuilt in 1896 due to wear and tear. It’s a unique sight in the urban jungle of New York City and has appeared in various films and TV shows. You can see the Gapstow Bridge, the Bow Bridge, and other interesting landmarks in this Central Park tour, one of the best walking tours in NYC.

10. Hell Gate Bridge, the strongest bridge in New York City

Finally, the Hell Gate Bridge is another famous New York City bridge that you can’t miss. Built between 1912 and 1916, it’s been known as the New York Connecting Railroad Bridge and the East River Arch Bridge due to its steel through arch construction. Now, it’s called the Hell Gate Bridge, as it spans Hell Gate, a strait of the East River.

Hell Gate Bridge, best bridges in new york

10. Hell Gate Bridge, the strongest bridge in New York City

This is actually a complex of three bridges, with the popular steel arch section being the most well-known. The other sections are an inverted bow string arch over Little Hell Gate and a small truss bridge between the Bronx and Randalls Island. The Hell Gate Bridge was the longest steel arch bridge in the world until the Bayonne Bridge opened. Its longest span measures 978 feet, although the total length of the bridge adds up to 17,000 feet.

The bridge features two Amtrak train tracks and one freight truck track, as well as a pedestrian walkway under the truss bridge. Despite its seemingly confusing design, the bridge was carefully planned and precisely constructed, capable of holding 12 tons per foot. It’s even said that Hell Gate Bridge would survive for at least 1,000 years without maintenance!

Map of bridges in NYC

There are so many interesting bridges in New York City, but I definitely recommend visiting the ones in this guide. You can use this New York City bridges map during your trip to make sure you don’t miss any:

Download this map and keep it handy to help you locate the most famous bridges in New York City!

FAQs – Bridges in New York

To finish up this guide to the bridges of New York, here are the answers to some common questions:

There are 2,027 total bridges in New York City, but most of them are very small. In Manhattan, there are 21 bridges.

Yes, you can walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for free.

There are 21 bridges that connect to Manhattan, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Queensboro Bridge, and the Manhattan Bridge.

Brooklyn has 12 bridges, most notably the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Williamsburg Bridge.

The longest bridge in New York City is the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, which has a total length of 13,700 feet.

The oldest bridge in New York City is the High Bridge (originally called the Aqueduct Bridge), which was built in 1848.

Some of the most famous bridges in New York City that you can walk across include the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the High Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the Queensboro Bridge, the Roosevelt Island Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, and the Bow Bridge in Central Park.

There you have it! These are the coolest bridges in New York that you can check out during your next visit. Don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below if you’ve seen these NYC bridges for yourself. I’ll also help you out if you have any questions.

Stay safe, and enjoy the Big Apple!

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Hey there, I'm Ascen, your personal trip planner on a mission to help you craft the most incredible adventure of your life. While I'm based in Las Vegas, you won't find me there often. As a full-time traveler, I'm always on the go, exploring new destinations and capturing the world through my lens. From the enchanting shores of Almeria, Spain, where I grew up, to the far reaches of the globe, I'm here to provide you with detailed travel guides and practical tips to make your trip planning a breeze. Find out more about me here.
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