Unbuilt New York: North River Bridge

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New York North River Bridge
Gustav Lindenthal’s 1887 plan for a North River Bridge in New York (Metropolis Books)

The view of Manhattan from New Jersey would have been quite different if Gustav Lindenthal had had his way. This Czech-born civil engineer called for an enormous, 1.8-kilometer bridge in 1887 that would have spanned the Hudson River.

The “North River Bridge” would have been sixty meters wide and sixty meters high to accommodate twelve railroads and 24 traffic lanes. It would have been twice the length of the George Washington Bridge, which connects Manhattan and New Jersey further up the Hudson River. The two supporting towers would have been taller than the Woolworth Building, which was the world’s tallest skyscraper at the time.

The North River Bridge was never built, but Lindenthal did get to design a bridge on the other side of Manhattan: the Hell Gate Bridge, which connects Randalls and Wards Islands to Astoria in Queens.

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